The last two weeks for the Blackhawks have been the best played, most productive, and most fun to watch throughout the whole season. They haven't been the most perfect weeks, but fans aren't asking for perfection. They want their team to find ways to win.
And that's exactly what the Blackhawks are doing.
As of Thursday, the 'Hawks have a six-game winning streak and are now tied for Phoenix for fourth place in the Western Conference. But why, so late into the season, are the defending Stanley Cup champions playing so well?
It all starts with the stars of the team.
The first line, during this winning streak, has been electric. We are watching three forwards(Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane) playing their best for the first time, together, all season, and it's having a tremendous, positive effect on the team.
Toews, alone, has been a force. He's on a seven-game point streak, five of which have been multi-point games. His two goals Wednesday give him a point total of 63 in 62 games. Add the plus-minus rating of +21, and you can see why Toews has been such a crucial part of the team this season.
Add Sharp's 33 goals and Kane's vast improvement offensively and you have a top line that every team should be envious of. Look at most of the games during the winning streak and the first line is on every stat sheet on those six games. They've contributed to every goal scored.
It's becoming evident that when the first line succeeds, the team, as a whole, does as well.
The improving performance of Corey Crawford should not be overlooked. Crawford notched is 24th win Thursday and seems to be on his way to breaking the 30 game win milestone for the season. He is slightly under Niemi's numbers in the win category, but Crawford has the upper-hand when it comes to save percentage.
The win streak is proving to be great medicine for fans and players alike. The moods of both the fans and players have steeply elevated to an all-time high this season, partly because of the timing. The 'Hawks could've never picked a better time to get hot.
The scramble for the last few spots in the Western Conference is continuing. With not many games left against Western Conference teams, any wins against them is key to the later success of the 'Hawks, who may have to play a watching game late on in the season.
But the goal is clear. Keep winning and there will be less worries down the road.