Just when you think you have hockey figured out, it throws for a loop. The Chicago Blackhawks have a league worst 19 points but looked like they could hang with anyone tonight in a stunning 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Go figure. But what a way to snap a four-game losing streak.
Here are four fast thoughts following Chicago’s first win in its last five tries
1. Petr Mrazek Is Money Again for the Blackhawks
Against one of the highest scoring teams in the league, Mrazek shrugged away 35 of 37 shots, none bigger than those in the final three minutes of the game where he shuttered any chance at a comeback for Colorado.
It’s the consistent theme for Mrazek this season–big saves in big moments. Don’t let his numbers fool you either. Statistically this team is going to struggle but Mrazek has been one of the strongest parts of the Blackhawks this season.
Another brilliant effort, this time against Colorado, steals another win for Chicago.
2. Lukas Reichel Gets on the Board
It’s been nearly a month since Lukas Reichel found the back of the net. He got it tonight off of a Connor Bedard feed that he deposited before having any chance to think–or overthink. Reichel has been snakebitten at times along with some moments where he hasn’t looked like the confident kid zipping up and down the ice like last season.
The Blackhawks will want to be ordering up more of this–and in large quantities.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights & News (@HockeyDaily365) December 20, 2023
3. Blackhawks Unsung Heroes Come Up Big
Jason Dickinson has enjoyed quite the year when it comes to scoring goals. But the stuff that doesn’t show up on the scoreboard is what stands out–like twice tonight where he disrupted Colorado chances with outstanding reads. One, where he intercepted a pass in the low slot, killing any scoring chance. Another, preventing an entry into the zone late in the game.
Want another? How about Tyler Johnson’s game winning goal? He’s been one of the most vocal Blackhawks when it comes to the effort not being good enough at times. Johnson’s workmanship paid off on the ice, both securing victory and showing exactly what has to be done when it comes to getting maximum effort.
4. Forget Moral Victories–this was a building block victory
Much has been said about moral victories not being good enough and this was the absolute antithesis. A team down with injuries and riding a four-game losing streak build on a close-but-no-cigar loss to Vancouver on Sunday and pull one off against another of the league’s best teams.
Oh, they’re not designed to keep up like this all the time but these are the victories that provide hope and show the message–despite the deficiencies–is sinking in and resonating.
Remember this one down the road–when games are consistently competitive and a victory doesn’t seem so stunning.