Hawks Insider

10 observations: Hawks beat Rangers, end 8-game winless skid


The Blackhawks beat the New York Rangers 5-2 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday to end an eight-game winless skid.

Here are 10 observations from the victory:

1. For the first time in 10 games, the Blackhawks finally scored the first goal and they actually built on it too after going ahead 3-0 in the second period. The Blackhawks improved to 3-0-2 when they score first this season, and they're 4-12-2 when they give up the first goal.

2. For two teams that don't meet very often, this was an extremely chippy game. No surprise, given the state of both clubs. The Blackhawks were on an eight-game winless skid and the Rangers are feeling the heat because they're sitting outside a playoff spot in December. There were a total of 60 penalty minutes between the two sides.

3. Jacob Trouba has turned into a Chicago after making several big hits. One on Jason Dickinson and another on Jujhar Khaira, who dropped the gloves with the 6-foot-3, 209-pound defenseman that knocked him out of a game last season because of a controversial hit, almost a year to the day.

Trouba later laid a heavy hit on Andreas Athanasiou, and Jonathan Toews immediately came to his defense. A bigger scrum also ensued. Toews was given a five-minute penalty for fighting, a two-minute for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct. I'd like to see a rule change: Punish any hit to the head, whether it's the principal point of contact or not. 

4. The Blackhawks scored three power-play goals in this game, which now gives them seven in their last four. Max Domi has three of those seven goals. The Blackhawks had only three power-play goals in their previous nine games. Encouraging to see that department back on track.

5. Patrick Kane had a three-point outing with a goal and two assists, and he became the 50th player in NHL history to hit the 1,200-point mark. What a career, and he's still got so much hockey left in the tank.

6. Good news? Petr Mrazek stopped 21 of 22 shots to pick up his second win of the season and his first since Oct. 15. Bad news? He left the game after the second period because of another groin injury. Arvid Soderblom played the third period and made five of six saves in relief. Mrazek just can't catch a break.

7. The last time the Blackhawks held a 4-1 lead in the third period, they allowed five unanswered goals in a 6-4 loss to Dallas. That was a week and a half ago. This time, the Blackhawks did a much better job protecting the lead.

8. The 2011-12 Blackhawks ended a nine-game losing streak in Madison Square Garden on Feb. 16 with a 4-2 win. They scored all four goals in the first period. A decade later, the Blackhawks snapped an eight-game skid at MSG after scoring the first three goals of the game. Need a slump buster? Go to New York, clearly.

9. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson briefly left the game in the first period after taking a puck to the head on the bench. He went back to the locker room at the next TV timeout to receive a few stitches and returned about five or six minutes later. I hope the puck is OK.

10. It was hard to watch this game and not think about the possibility of Kane and Artemi Panarin reuniting. The Rangers are outside of a playoff spot right now, but I think they'll turn it around. If they do, it feels like they could be the front-runners to land Kane.

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