Four consecutive wins, including perhaps their best 60 minutes of the season, has instilled confidence in the Chicago Blackhawks. As a team with NHL Playoff aspirations, if not higher, the Blackhawks did not see themselves in their current position.
The Chicago Blackhawks have 37 points, with a 16-11-5 record. It is good enough to be tied for the top wild card spot if the playoffs were to begin today. With the NHL Playoffs less predictable out of all of the major sports, all a team, such as the Blackhawks, has to do is get in.
Consistent play has not come easy for the Chicago Blackhawks thus far. The Blackhawks’ 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets this past Thursday night was called the best performance of the year by Coach Joel Quenneville.
Coach Quenneville praised the Winnipeg Jets after the Blackhawks’ victory. The Jets are one of the teams chasing the Chicago Blackhawks’ legacy, with an attempt to surpass one of the NHL’s most recent dynasties.
That dynasty includes three Stanley Cup championships in a six-year span. Over that time, only the Pittsburgh Penguins can match what the Blackhawks have done. Judging from how the Blackhawks have begun their season, it is easy to believe that they are slowing down a tad. However, the four-game winning streak might suggest that the Blackhawks are starting to round into form.
Chicago Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews sent a message (courtesy of the Winnipeg Sun) to the Jets and other teams looking to assume that the Blackhawks’ best days are behind them.
“People can say what they want. We have a lot of experience in here. We know what we’re capable of, but we also know how hard we have to work to stay on top, to remain one of the best teams.”
Just over one-third into the NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks are a bad stretch from being on the outside looking in of the postseason. It will take leadership from their veteran core consisting of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith, among others.
The Chicago Blackhawks will also need some of their young players to step up if they want to continue their hot streak.
Winger Alex DeBrincat has fit in well with his experienced Blackhawks’ teammates. The rookie and former 2016 second round pick has given the Chicago Blackhawks the energy when the team has gone without.
It was Alex DeBrincat’s assist, which led to Jonathan Toews’ game-tying goal (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune) against the Florida Panthers. The Blackhawks went on to win 3-2 in overtime thanks to DeBrincat. His play allowed the Blackhawks to keep their streak going.
Alex DeBrincat has earned his place with the Blackhawks, but he alone cannot help the team remain hot. However, he can continue to provide the spark the Blackhawks need until the veterans live up to their resumes.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ biggest concern could be their speed on defense. The aforementioned Duncan Keith is playing slower than he has in past seasons. Should the Blackhawks continue to win games it will take for Keith have a few gutsy performances.
If the Chicago Blackhawks cannot slow opposing teams down, they must outscore them. The Blackhawks are constructed to do a little bit of both. Their 5-1 win over a quick Winnipeg Jets team is an indication of such.
Up next for the Chicago Blackhawks is the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are currently the leader in the top wild card spot. Getting a fifth consecutive win will work wonders for the Blackhawks in terms of their place in the standings and going forward.