Blackhawks Looking Good, Bye and Bye
By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)
Before their bye week in mid-February, the Chicago Blackhawks had a 6-game road trip to finish first. Entering the trip, the Blackhawks decided to go gangbusters and play that set of games as if they were the last of the playoffs.
They won five of those six games. Three of those games came against teams they have had trouble with. The Minnesota Wild, whom they lost their previous eight games against. Another was the Winnipeg Jets, whom they had lost all four games played against them this year. The last was against the Edmonton Oilers. In November, the Oilers beat the Blackhawks 5-1 in Edmonton.
The bye week has been of speculation as it was introduced for the first time this year. It was meant to provide a break for the players in the middle of a grueling 82-game season. As of March 1st, records of teams coming off their bye weeks are 9-15-4. The Blackhawks lost their first game back, a 3-1 defeat at home against the Oilers.
Since then? The Blackhawks have won their last seven games. Some of those games without the services of key players out for various reasons including Corey Crawford, Artem Anisimov, and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Now, a second, mini-bye presents itself for the Hawks. They have the next four days off before the final crunch towards the end of the season. They will end the season with seventeen games in thirty-one days.
The first bye week seemed to do well although they lost that first game back. They have now won twelve of their last thirteen games. With four days off and some players banged up, (Scott Darling will be out for the next three weeks), the Hawks look to take advantage of even more time off.
With their victory last night in Nashville against the Predators, they currently hold a one point advantage over the Wild. It most likely will be a short-lived lead, as the Wild have three games in hand on the Hawks. But, the Wild had three games in hand on January 31st as well, but held a six point lead over the Hawks.
Within their last 14 games, Patrick Kane has 21 points (14G 7A), and Jonathan Toews has 20 points (8G 12A).
Oh, and newly re-acquainted Johnny Oduya should be in the lineup when they return from their break.
Here come the Hawks.
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