In the grand scheme of things, the Chicago Blackhawks did look better in their games this week as compared to last. After watching miserable hockey for the past few weeks, the Hawks seemingly clawed their way back to mediocrity. The Hawks managed to take two out of four games on the week, and looking forward, hopefully they can continue playing watchable hockey.
Monday night, the Blackhawks fell to the Los Angeles Kings, 3-1. The game wasn’t very exciting as the Hawks looked hungover from their 7-1 route of the Washington Capitals on Saturday. The lone goal for the Hawks came from Patrick Sharp, who notched his seventh goal on the season. Sharp has been a bit of a disappointment since his return to Chicago, although, at 37 years of age, not too much can be expected. The Hawks were simply outmatched against a much stronger, faster and better Kings team. Johnathon Quick stopped 27 out of 28 shots and Dion Phaneuf, who the Kings just acquired via trade, notched a goal. A 3-1 loss for the Hawks was nothing surprising, however, it would have been nice to see a little more effort after an incredible game against the Capitals.
The Hawks would go on to win the next two games, defeating a lowly Ottawa Senators team in a shootout, 3-2 and then handing the San Jose Sharks a 3-1 loss. The Ottawa game was a lot closer than it should have been, but overall, the Hawks looked a lot better than they did on Monday night. Patrick Kane tallied a goal and an assist, was all over the ice and was one of the main reasons the Hawks won on Wednesday night. Artem Anisimov gave the Hawks their second goal and Nick Schmaltz beat goaltender Mike Condon in the shootout to give the Hawks the 3-2 win.
Friday night, in the Hawks 3-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks, the Sharks were outplayed. The Sharks were beat at every turn by the Hawks, and they seemed much like the Hawks normally are, sluggish and not wanting to be there. The big story on the night was Jean-Francois Berube, who made his first start for the Chicago Blackhawks. He made 42 out of 43 saves on the night and recorded his first win for the Hawks. He looked good all night and kept the Hawks ahead the whole game. Jan Rutta, in his first game back since being on IR, notched a goal and an assist.
The final game of the week for the Hawks was on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Hawks would fall 3-2 to the Jackets, as they were unable to get much past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. He stopped 31 out of 33 shots on the night and was the reason the Blue Jackets won the game. Former Hawk Artemi Panarin notched an assist on the night. The Hawks Tomas Jurco got his first goal as a Chicago Blackhawk and Patrick Kane added an assist but they couldn’t lift the Hawks past the Jackets. Ultimately, it came down to who could score the third goal, as both teams struggle mightily at scoring more than two goals in a game. The third goal for the Jackets was one that goaltender Anton Forsberg would like to have back, as Josh Anderson made a bad angle shot that Forsberg should have stopped easily. Unfortunately, the Hawks couldn’t tie it in the final eight and a half minutes and went on to lose the game.
All in all, the Blackhawks had an average week, which is better than we can say for the past several weeks. Seeing a team with so many big names get outplayed more often than not is tough, but this week was a sign that they can still be competitive. Next week features three games, all later in the week. The Hawks will take on the Sharks, Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.