CHICAGO (Parlay Game) – Somewhere on the way, while Patrick Kane accumulated points and the special teams took shape, the discussion around the Chicago Blackhawks went from the repechage to the wild card rankings.
Another surprising ride in a strange season.
After two sets of eight losses, a coaching change and a handful of minor league and trade promotions, Chicago is preparing for a playoff spot in the congested Western Conference. The second line of Blackhawks Dominik Kahun, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat scored nine points in Sunday's 5-2 win over Detroit, beating his record of seven straight wins.
"We are better than before and we will have to continue to improve," said coach Jeremy Colliton, who succeeded Joel Quenneville after Joel Quenneville's dismissal on Nov. 6.
The Blackhawks (23-24-9) are just four points behind Minnesota for the second day before Monday's games. But they also have only four points ahead of Anaheim and Los Angeles in last place of the conference. The last nine teams from the West are separated by eight points.
For now, Colliton is more focused on how Chicago plays than anything else.
"We have to make sure we do not think we're going to just happen and it's going to happen. We have to work, "said Colliton. "We have to do the right things and if you do it for almost 60 minutes, we'll get the points we want and I'm pretty sure the rankings are going to work out."
While the Blackhawks have struggled for much of the first half of the season, Kane has consistently maintained a performance reminiscent of winning the 2016 NHL's MVP Hart Trophy. The All-Star forward counts 11 goals and 20 assists in one A sequence of 14 games – the longest active NHL sequence.
After Detroit was eliminated in less than a game in the third period, Kane scored his 33rd goal and then attended the match. Jonathan Toews"Net-nettle to help conclude for Chicago.
"He's still involved," said Colliton. "When he's on the ice, the other team knows he's a threat and that's good for us."
Toews and DeBrincat were also strong this year, but one of the biggest factors in Chicago's recovery was its depth. Strome has four goals and 12 assists in his last nine games. Kahun scored two goals and an assist against the Red Wings.
Strome, 21, entered a deal with Arizona on Nov. 25. He had a disappointing start to his career after the Coyotes took it with # 3 pick in the 2015 draft, but he seems to have made his mark since he joined the Blackhawks and that's what he's been doing. he found DeBrincat after playing together in junior hockey.
"I'm having fun playing hockey again," said Strome. "The team wins, produced in an offensive way. I earn some wagering and I help the team to win. Obviously, when the team wins, everyone seems to get better. Everyone has a good mood in the room.
The improvement of the Chicago power play has also given rise to big goals lately. The Blackhawks have converted at least one power play opportunity in 15 of their last 18 games, with 23 against 59 for a 39% success rate.
"I like that we play for something and that guys believe in the locker room that if we continue to do what we do, we will give ourselves a chance," Ward said. "Of course, you take care of what you can control. We want to continue this momentum.