The Chicago Blackhawks welcomed the Columbus Blue Jackets to the United Center on Thursday night looking to bounce back from a rare home loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Against the Avalanche, the Blackhawks crumbled and gave up three goals in the third period. Needless to the say, they were looking for a rebound against Columbus.
Chicago absolutely demolished the Blue Jackets — highlighted by a three-goal second period — and they finished the game 6-1. They were lead by Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews, who both had two goals apiece. The Blackhawks had gone cold leading up to Thursday’s contest, dropping three of their last four ever since thumping the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field on Saturday.
Head coach Joel Quenneville chose to shake things up and jostled his lines around to create a spark. He chose to put Shaw on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, and dropped Patrick Sharp to the second line with Michael Handzus and Patrick Kane. The move paid off handsomely for Quenneville, as his top line put up four goals.
There’s no telling if Quenneville will keep the lines he used on Thursday in the future, but it was a very positive statement game from a team that chose to remain quiet at Wednesday’s trade deadline. When Chicago chose not to make a move at the deadline, they basically claimed to their fan base that they didn’t need any outside help to put together a deep playoff run this year.
The regular season can feel long and grueling at times for players. Sometimes players need a bit of a jolt, like shuffling their lines around. Thursday night, Quenneville showed initiative in trying to jump start his team, and his players responded very well against a former divisional opponent who has been hot lately. The Blackhawks were right not to make a move at the trade deadline; Thursday night’s game proved that they have enough quality depth to be able to contend in the Western Conference this season.