All summer long they talked about who would take over for Michal Handzus as the Blackhawks’ second-line center.
Brandon Saad was one option. Ditto for Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Pirri and Drew LeBlanc.
Turns out nobody did. Handzus kept the job for himself. The 37-year-old is expected to skate between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa when Chicago opens the playoffs tomorrow in St. Louis.
“He’s useful in a lot of ways. He’s predictable, dependable,” coach Joel Quenneville said, per CSN Chicago. “I thought that last year he was a big factor. Whoever he played with, that line was getting the job done for us and that’s what we’re looking for now.”
Handzus only manged four goals and 12 assists during the regular season, but there’s something to be said for dependability in the postseason.
“He’s a reliable center man, good in all zones, and he’s a guy you can count on out there,” said Sharp.
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.