The tough January stretch for the Chicago Blackhawks is starting to take its toll on their fans. While some in the media indirectly debate whether this is just a funk or a bigger symptom of the team’s flaws, the fact is that the Blackhawks have not been playing well in the month of January. By contrast, their next opponent Anaheim Ducks have been on fire, winning 18 of their last 19 games. This next game between the two will be vital for the Hawks. If they want to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they have to recover, right now.
The Blackhawks are currently second in the Western Conference behind the Ducks. It is no longer a case of the Ducks breathing down the Hawks’ necks, it’s the Hawks trying to catch the Ducks. While some in the media acted like the Hawks’ lack of overtime victories is a nice-to-have problem, the Ducks have pulled away.
In order for the Hawks to get in the right mindset for the playoffs, they have to start winning immediately. Patrick Kane will have to find his scoring touch again and so will Jonathan Toews. Andrew Shaw must be the pesky little bugger he’s always been. Now granted, it’s not time to panic. This is the first time the team has played a full 82-game season in two years. And perhaps it is just mid-season doldrums. But with a Stanley Cup rematch against the Boston Bruins coming up, this funk is not going to help.
So what should the Hawks do? That’s simple and it’s right in the headline: beat the Ducks. They’re riding a hot streak, propelled by Jonas Hiller‘s 14-game winning streak. They will not be easy to beat. The Hawks cannot let them come into the United Center and steal another win. The Hawks have lost three-straight to the Ducks dating back to last season. That monkey has to jump off the back sooner or later. Tomorrow night is the right time.