The Chicago Blackhawks have reached the halfway point of their annual circus trip where they spend a decent amount of time out on the road. This trip comprised a seven game series of match-ups in which the Hawks are currently 3-1.
The Hawks should be most concerned about their matchup in Calgary against the Flames. The last face-off between the two left the Hawks with a loss in overtime. This game was extremely frustrating because the Blackhawks outscored the Flames easily but were stymied by the rookie netminder, Reto Berra. This time around the Hawks will need to put a lot of focus on their offensive skating. At this point Berra will have lost a lot of his rookie momentum, but that should not undersell him. He is still a great goalie, and the Hawks will need to be mindful of that.
Next up, the Blackhawks will face the Dallas Stars on Friday, November 29. In the previous match-up between these two teams, the Blackhawks trounced the Stars 5-2. It will be important for the Blackhawks to maintain consistency in their offensive play, but they must also be aware of their defense. Friday might very well see rookie Antti Raanta in the net for Chicago, which will be a great opportunity for him to show his worth out on the ice.
To conclude the circus trip, the Blackhawks will square off against the Coyotes on Saturday, November 30. This will be the Hawks’ final stop out on the road before a three-day respite which will take them back to the United Center in Chicago. In this match-up the Hawks will need to be mindful of defense. Chicago landed a shootout win when they should have been able to easily seal victory. Conscious netminding as well as active defense from the rest of the team will be essential to victory.
Overall, it will be important for the Blackhawks to close out the trip in a victorious manner in order to carry with them winning momentum back to Chicago. A circus trip puts the players to the test as none of their games are played on their home turf. Spending all that time out on the road is also a strain. So coming out of the trip successfully will be a true measure of the Hawks’ determination to succeed.