If you looked just at possession numbers, as usual, the AK72 line dominated yet again for the Blackhawks last night. Yet aside from one gorgeous Patrick Kane snipe, that line was held off the score sheet—while Jonathan Toews' line had a huge night (with, meh, okay possession numbers).
So it goes. The Hawks were good enough—and as they've often been this season—a bit lucky too in a 4-2 victory over Vancouver at the UC last night.
Toews himself ended the night with 4 points (1/3). A monster night on the scoresheet, and otherwise you could say Toews was pretty good. And that, in and of itself, is a mildly encouraging sign, perhaps now verging on a trend, for the Hawks as they stretch their current win steak to 3 games, with a beatable Tampa Bay Lightning coming to the UC tomorrow night.
Racking up points is important for playoff certainty and position. But let's all keep in mind, a January home game against a middling Western team like Vancouver is one you should win, if not win going away.
A decent game was played by Corey Crawford last night, also an important sign as the Hawks' number one netminder has been struggling since returning from an appendectomy.
Areas of concern continue to be face-off wins, and the Hossa/Kero/Hinostroza line was deep underwater in possession. Toews (uncharacteristically) and Kero were pretty much dominated in the dot. Michal Kempny continues to have some struggles, including a penalty that turned into a Bo Horvat power play goal.
Again, stats are just stats compared to the scoreboard and certainly the positives outweighed the negatives last night for Chicago.
I have no news on Hawk trade rumors this morning. There are a lot of names and scenarios flying in the blogosphere, including Arizona defenseman Michael Stone. My gut sense is the Hawks will make some kind of move(s) in about a month, and most likely involving a left wing before a defenseman. I will pass along anything I hear in the meantime.
Tampa preview tomorrow.