The Chicago Blackhawks snapped their current free-fall with a statement win against the Anaheim Ducks Friday night for their second win in six games. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville referred to that game as a “measuring stick” type of game, and the Blackhawks executed their game plan to perfection en route to a 4-2 victory.
The Blackhawks have now put together solid performances that produced wins in two of their last three games, but they still need a win against the Boston Bruins to ensure everything is back to one hundred percent.
Obviously, it is a rematch of last season’s Stanley Cup Finals, but it also poses a unique challenge for the Blackhawks and their puck possession style of offense. Against Anaheim, the team was able to control the puck thanks to the top line led by Marian Hossa. However, thanks to Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins rank second in the NHL allowing 2.17 goals per game. Boston, however, is mid-pack with regards to shots, allowing 29.2 shots per game.
Much of this can be attributed to Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has been shaky yet only allows 2.11 goals per game and has an impressive .928 save percentage, good enough for fourth in the NHL. This means Corey Crawford, struggling to find consistency of his own, will have his work cut out for him.
All the pieces are coming back together for the Blackhawks, and Crawford is a major piece to the formula for success. At least until the Olympic break, it looks like the team will be using Crawford as much as possible and hoping he can find the consistency that led the team to a Stanley Cup last season. Although the playoffs are 32 games and an Olympic break away, the momentum Crawford needs to be a two-time champion begins in January in big games such as this.
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