It was a game that was a long time coming. The Chicago Blackhawks had been struggling, while the Anaheim Ducks were on fire. Something had to happen for the Blackhawks, and it did. The Hawks played what could possibly be their best game of the year against the conference-leading Ducks. The Hawks had played poorly against top teams for much of the 2014 calendar year, but with this win, the Hawks seem to be finding the winning touch that has eluded them for two weeks.
As far as the team goes, this was a complete win. Sure, they gave up two late goals, but they played the way they should have been all along. The Hawks pressured the Ducks and got all the fortunate bounces either in the form of a rebound by Kris Versteeg or Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller mangling a save on a Bryan Bickell shot. Aside from the two goals by Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri, the defense played well.
And speaking of defense, Corey Crawford needed this victory badly. There was a moment where it looked like he was going to get his first shutout of the season, but the fact that he’s won his first game since his return is far more important than the goose egg. At the same time, the aforementioned Bickell and Marian Hossa both had good games. For Bickell, it was his first goal since Dec. 23. Hossa had been dealing with questions about his age and Bickell has been having confidence issues. Now that they’ve both had their best games in recent memory, they should only get better.
Of course, this means that the whole team is getting back on track. A bad stretch for much of the early part of the year raised questions about the team’s chances of repeating. Now that they’ve won, they can re-focus on their attention on the task at hand of winning the division. They’ve still got a few flaws, but a confidence-building win against the Ducks is just what the doctor ordered.
That was a hungry team that played with a taste for roast duck and got the win. If they bring this attitude to every game from now until the Olympic break (and after), the only way for the Hawks to go is up.