The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their offense rolling over the past few games, and carried that momentum into the second game of a back-to-back series against two Canadian teams.
And while the second game was lost to the Calgary Flames, the momentum will ideally continue to build. The Blackhawks had a solid effort overall with goals coming from Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa. Ultimately, it was the outstanding debut of Reto Berra that stopped the ‘Hawks from gaining two points, as the goaltender stopped 42 of 44 shots which came his way in his first NHL start.
On the other end of the ice, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will have plenty of time to rest going forward as the team will take a trip to visit the President in Washington DC, and will not play again before Wednesday night. But while Crawford remains a constant, change is likely coming before then depending on the health of Michal Handzus.
Handzus is dealing with an injury that has sidelined him for multiple games, but both Brandon Pirri and Marcus Kruger have created a logjam at center, which could likely only be resolved by moving Kruger back to the wing position.
With Brad Mills also becoming healthy soon, the team will have an excess wing position as well. There, the debate becomes what philosophy the team wants to implement. Mills has proven to be a security blanket of sorts, clicking best with Kruger on the penalty kill, but the team will have to scratch either Ben Smith or Jeremy Morin.
Yet, while Mills has been out for the past two games, the Blackhawks have played a cleaner game, only tallying one penalty. Morin and Smith, for their part, have not committed a penalty this season.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486