The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t benefit from the returns of Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa tonight, but their other big stars lead the way. While they aren’t exploiting an embarrassment of riches any longer, the team is doing something they rarely needed to last season: scratch and claw for every point.
Jonathan Toews (one goal and one assist) and Duncan Keith (one goal) might not have impressive depth behind them, but they came through for Chicago much like they did during the 2009-10 season.
Call it a random stat if you want, but Chicago has only allowed one power play opportunity (a fruitless one for the Kings) in the last two games. Not too surprisingly, the Blackhawks find themselves on a two-game winning streak.
Corey Crawford earned his 10th win of the season, as the young goalie seems primed to “Pull an Antti Niemi” by usurping struggling would-be starter Marty Turco. Crawford stopped 26 out of 28 shots and was especially strong in the third period, allowing only one goal on 11 Kings tries.
Jonathan Quick wasn’t far behind, but the Kings need better performances than allowing three goals on 24 shots. At least in closely played games like this one.
This loss pushes the Kings out of playoff contention by a small margin with 37 points, although the closest teams in front of them have played 2-5 more contests and only hold two points standings leads. The Blackhawks are one of those teams, sitting with 39 points in 35 games played.