Chicago Blackhawks: Looking Ahead Following Win in Columbus
The Chicago Blackhawks snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday night when they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Tallying two points in the standings column must have felt good after failing to do so in the team's three previous attempts.
Ending a losing streak is always a good feeling, but the Blackhawks need not get too carried away with their blowout win over Columbus. I'm sure head coach Joel Quenneville will make sure his team stays focused on the task at hand.
We learned quite a few things about the Hawks and some individual players that should be taken away from the game against Columbus and kept in the back of our minds going forward.
Columbus Blue Jackets Are the NHL's Worst Team
The Chicago Blackhawks scored six goals in a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but it must not be forgotten that Columbus is the NHL's worst team with a record of 2-12-1.
A win is a win, but the Blackhawks can't let this one get to their heads.
It looks like Columbus' offseason acquisitions aren't paying off. Maybe it's time to take the team in a new direction and fire their head coach Scott Arniel.
Hawks' Penalty Kill Still Needs Work
Two of the three goals the Chicago Blackhawks gave up to the Columbus Blue Jackets were when the Hawks were shorthanded.
The Hawks are ranked 23rd in the NHL in penalty kill, killing the penalty 76.5 percent of the time. That's going to have to improve if Chicago is going to keep up with the best teams in the Western Conference and, essentially, the NHL.
It seems like the same guys have been going to the sin-bin for the Hawks recently. And I'm pointing my finger at you, Viktor Stalberg and Daniel Carcillo.
It's time to relax and not put your team in a shorthanded situation.
Steve Montador the Hawks' PP Solution?
Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville may have found his solution to the Hawks' power play problems. Steve Montador may be that solution.
Steve Montador doubled his 2011-12 points total by tallying a goal and an assist in the Hawks' win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night, and both of Montador's points came on the power play.
Montador, a defenseman, planted his body in the slot while skating on one of the Hawks' power-play units. Montador's power-play role is similar to the one Dustin Byfuglien played the year Chicago won the Stanley Cup, except Montador isn't as big as Byfuglien.
Montador also recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick by scoring a goal and assist. Then he dropped the gloves against Derek Dorsett.
Montador's fight came in defense of his young teammate, Marcus Kruger. This is why GM Stan Bowman signed Steve Montador to his four-year deal this past summer.
Corey Crawford Is Human
Despite Corey Crawford stopping 90 percent of the shots he faced against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he looked a bit shaky throughout the game.
Crawford's 2011-12 season started off with a bang, and he looked like one of the NHL's top goalies. He's since cooled off, however, he's not the reason the Chicago Blackhawks were struggling the past week.
Corey Crawford's recent cooler is just another example of the life of an NHL goalie. Every night will not be his night, but he'll come back with a clear head his next time out.
Don't count Crawford out when it comes time to consider which goalie will win the Vezina Trophy for the NHL's best goaltender at the end of the season.
Marian Hossa's Health Is Key for the Hawks Going Forward
The Chicago Blackhawks can't afford to fight the injury bug, much like they did last season in defense of the Stanley Cup.
Marian Hossa has had his fair share of injuries since joining the Blackhawks in 2009, and his team can't afford to be without him, or any other core skaters on the Hawks roster. In Hossa's first 15 games of the 2011-12 season, he's tallied 14 points, and he trails only Patrick Kane (16), for the team's most points.
Hossa's hot start is hopefully a sign of a great season for the Czechoslovakian. It'd be quite the damper if injuries continued to haunt Hossa's career with Blackhawks.
Daniel Carcillo's Lips Stitched Up
Daniel Carcillo got hit in the mouth with the puck in the first period of the Chicago Blackhawks' game against the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night. Carcillo returned as soon as he received stitches in both lips.
Maybe Carcillo will keep his mouth shut for a minute now that he's a bit wounded.
Don't count on it.
Carcillo served two minutes in the penalty box against Columbus, and that's his third straight game serving time in the sin-bin. Carcillo served just one penalty in his first nine games of the 2011-12 season, prior to his current three-game penalty streak.
Dave Bolland Is Hawks' Missing Piece on Offense
Dave Bolland took a shot to the foot in the Chicago Blackhawks' game against the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night, and you could tell he was lagging the rest of the game.
Bolland sat out of the Hawks' game against Columbus on Thursday, and he's listed as day-to-day.
With Bolland out of the lineup, the team is short one center, and one of the best defensive forwards in the league. Bolland's absence certainly doesn't favor Joel Quenneville and the Chicago Blackhawks.