by Scott King
The Chicago Blackhawks got back to .500 with a 7-7-4 record following a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday in Sin City.
The Hawks have won four of their past six games and have grabbed nine out of the last 12 possible points.
Why the turnaround after a slow start to the 2019-20 season?
First, the goaltending.
Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford have been as good as expected as a tandem in net from when Lehner was signed to a one-year 5 million free-agent contract in the offseason.
Crawford made 39 saves for the win in Vegas last night and Lehner’s .934 save percentage is good for second in the league behind the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.942).
The second main reason the Hawks have become harder to play against is their offense. Chicago has scored 17 goals in its past four games.
As a unit the team is much more aggressive on the forecheck in that span and spending a lot more time in other team’s zones.
Patrick Kane’s seven-game point streak (six goals, eight assists) sure doesn’t hurt. Since the DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line has been reassembled they’ve been a force to be reckoned with.
Wednesday night Alex DeBrincat had two assists and Kane and Dylan Strome each had a goal and two assists.
First time in Vegas?
The Blackhawks beat the Golden Knights for the first time in history Wednesday.
“That was a fast game,” Crawford said of the first win against Vegas. “They’re a really good hockey team. Obviously they were going to be hungry. It seems like they always come out hard in the first period there, but we didn’t fold. We just kept playing.”
The Hawks will play the Predators in Nashville Saturday before returning to the United Center on Sunday to take on the Buffalo Sabres.
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