The Chicago Blackhawks may not win a ton of hockey games this season, but they do sure know how to respond after a bad loss.
After an ugly 8-1 defeat in Arizona on Monday that left a "bad taste" in their mouth, according to Connor Bedard, the Blackhawks bounced back with a 5-2 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers on Saturday at the United Center, a game in which the Blackhawks led 4-0 at one point.
"That last game was pretty brutal," said Philipp Kurashev, who had a goal and two assists in Saturday's win. "But we took the good things and got rid of the bad things. We tried to get out there again. Especially at home, it's great to get the momentum and hopefully we can build on this win."
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The Blackhawks did not like their overall effort against Montreal in their third game of the season. Tyler Johnson said after that game: "I'm not too happy with what happened." His team responded with arguably its most complete victory of the season in Toronto, a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs.
A little more than a week later, Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson challenged his team to "push for more this year" and not settle for the "hard-working" label after a 3-0 loss to Boston on Oct. 24. He was visibly displeased after the game.
The Blackhawks answered the challenge with a multi-goal comeback overtime win over Vegas, handing the defending Stanley Cup champions their first loss of the season.
These are good teams the Blackhawks are responding against, too. Wins over Toronto, Vegas and Florida are nothing to sneeze at.
It's still early, but the bounce-back wins after bad losses have been a noticeable theme for the Blackhawks through the first month of the campaign.
"That's important," said Taylor Hall, who scored in his first game back after missing the last two weeks with a shoulder injury. "Especially on a team with a lot of players that are growing and a lot of younger guys. This league, it can really spiral and it can go on you pretty quickly if you don't nip things in the bud, and we've done a pretty good job of that so far this year."
Richardson didn't want to be known as the hard-working team anymore. He wants to see progress. Bouncing back from bad losses against strong teams is a solid start.
Naturally, there's a new challenge moving forward for a Blackhawks team that has yet to win back-to-back games this season.
"Now I want to see it go the other way," Richardson said. "I’d like to see us build momentum off a win, not react to just after a tough loss. I want to see us react after a good win or even a tough win and makes sure that we try and extend that and keep those highs a little bit longer.
"I think we’ve done a good job, like you said, on the lows, to keep them short. But I’d like to see us extend the highs. That’s where we've got to grow a little bit of maturity in our team, not just young guys, all of us together as a group. To be consistent in this league is hard. I think you've got to push through that and find it somehow."
Hall concurred: "Now it's about turning the tide the other way and getting on winning streaks and playing consecutive games where we play well, win or lose, we feel good about our game."