Hawks Insider

10 observations: Hawks beat Blue Jackets, snap losing streak


The Blackhawks knocked off the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 at the United Center on Friday to end their losing streak.

Here are 10 observations from the win:

1. The Blackhawks ended an eight-game losing streak and an 11-game home winless skid. Their last home win before Friday was Nov. 3, a 2-1 overtime victory against Los Angeles. It's also the first time the Blackhawks won at home in regulation since Oct. 25, a 4-2 victory over Florida. The fans who made the trek in sub-zero temperatures went home happy for Christmas break.

2. The Blackhawks didn't record their first shot until the 8:22 mark of the first period, and yet they still finished the frame with 14 shots. They also took a 2-0 lead into the intermission and didn't trail the rest of the game. Finally, not only did they hold a lead, but they actually built on it too. It was just the sixth time this season they scored the first goal.

3. The Blackhawks took over the game in the second period. At one point, they had four goals and Columbus had only five shots. It's been a while since we've seen the Blackhawks control a game the way they did this one, although the Blue Jackets made things interesting in the third period.

4.  Patrick Kane could've had three or four points on Wednesday against Nashville but he ended up with zero. He called his season point total after Friday's morning skate "unacceptable." Well, the market quickly corrected itself after he registered two points (one goal, one assist) in the first period alone against Columbus and finished with one goal and two assists. Max Domi also had a goal and an assist one day after saying he and Kane are "right there" from breaking through. Hockey is funny man.

5. Boris Katchouk nearly got the Blackhawks in trouble in the third period. The Blue Jackets pulled within 4-2 and Katchouk committed a boarding penalty and roughing penalty on back-to-back shifts. He's fortunate the Blackhawks killed them off and took a 5-2 lead later in the frame on the power play.

6. Jonathan Toews got blown up by Sean Kuraly in the second period and a big scrum ensued. It was a clean hit, but I liked the Blackhawks coming to his defense. It was a 4-0 game at the time and you knew Kuraly was trying to get his team going. Toews was the one who fought Jacob Trouba after the Andreas Athanasiou hit earlier in the month. His teammates returned the favor in this game. Toews also finished with a goal and two assists for a three-point effort.

7. Alex Stalock started between the pipes for the first time since Nov. 1 after missing almost two months because of a concussion. And he didn't look too rusty, stopping 27 of 29 shots for a save percentage of .931. He was active, engaged and was even ready to throw down at one point after the Kuraly hit on Toews. He stomped on a Blue Jackets player's stick, barked some words with Mathieu Olivier and then later had a spirited discussion with Erik Gudbranson during a TV timeout. Stuff is always happening when he starts. I appreciate that from an entertainment perspective, and I think his team feeds off that energy too.

8. I thought this was one of the better games Athanasiou has played of late. He really had his legs moving, and he ended his 11-game goal drought too.

9. Adam Boqvist missed the last 24 games for Columbus with a broken foot but returned to the lineup to face his former team. He was a healthy scratch in four of the first eight games of the season. He's still trying to find his way in the NHL. It certainly didn't help his development that he came into the league one or two years before he was actually ready. This is why the Blackhawks' new regime is preaching patience with their prospects.

10. The Blue Jackets are on pace to finish with 54 points this season, which is 27 fewer than last season. I have no idea what's going on there. I thought they'd be a playoff team with the addition of 115-point scorer Johnny Gaudreau. To be fair, they've been crushed by injuries, most notably losing Zach Werenski for the season just one month in, but they still should be better than they are. Instead, they will probably be on Chicago's tail for last by the end of the season.

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