The Chicago Blackhawks are fully immersed in their worst stretch of the season, having lost six of their last nine games against various levels of competition. Although the Hawks are still second in the Western Conference standings, the gap between second and fifth in the standings is quite narrow, with every point beginning to count more and more.
The Blackhawks’ struggles have started with the top six forwards failing to maintain puck possession and forecheck aggressively when not having the puck on their sticks. In the same way that good play is contagious, bad play is perhaps even more infectious.
To solve the Blackhawks’ struggles, coach Joel Quenneville is best served reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the team’s top line in order to boost offensive production. Last night, in a move of desperation, Quenneville put the tandem back together and as a result, Kane scored his first goal in the month of January.
Although it was too little too late, it was Kane’s fourth goal with Toews on the ice on his 33rd shot. The pair isn’t together often, but when they are, the potential is high. It’s also worth noting that Kane’s style of play has changed significantly, making him a smarter puck handler and a player who has an ideal combination of passing and shooting.
The Blackhawks are also assisted by the fact that they are playing the Winnipeg Jets, whom they have dominated all season, scoring four goals and winning by at least three goals each time. Although there’s still no reason for panic or drastic moves, change is once again necessary if the Blackhawks look to chase down the Western Conference’s best.
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