How does a team blow a two-goal lead in the third period against a division rival and get away with it?
By scoring four unanswered goals to blow out the third period the next night, ending the weekend tied for second place in the division.
The last 30 hours from the Chicago have captured the entire 2010-11 season from the Hawks. They came out dominating in Nashville for 40 minutes, and then mental lapses made them look silly in blowing a two-goal lead, and two critical points in the standings, in regulation before losing in the shootout.
Blowing the lead cost the Hawks a tie in the division with Nashville, and extended the Preds lead on the Hawks to two points. It was also deflating after Chicago had played some of their best hockey of the year going into the game.
Both teams then flew to Chicago.
In a city buzzing with excitement over a big win by the Bears, and with two more critical points on the line, how did the Hawks come out of the gates?
Six penalties in the first two periods.
The first period was ugly. The Hawks came out flat, and were trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Then Dave Bolland happened.
Bolland’s ridiculous highlight-reel goal, and a big hit by Viktor Stalberg, seemed to be the spark the Hawks needed. Even when they gave up a go-ahead goal early in the third period, the compete level from the Hawks was noticeably up from the first 20 minutes.
Troy Brouwer tied the game, and then scored the eventual game-winner in a 40-second span that was only the beginning of an explosion we haven’t seen from the Hawks this year. Before the dust had settled, the Blackhawks sprinted away to a 6-3 win and a tie with Nashville for second in the Central.
And it was a big statistical weekend for a number of Hawks.
Jonathan Toews scored the 100th goal of his NHL career on Sunday night.
Tomas Kopecky scored a goal on Saturday night and added two assists on Sunday.
Bolland had an assist on Saturday and two goals on Sunday.
Brouwer had two goals and nine hits combined in the two games.
Bryan Bickell had a goal and an assist.
Brian Campbell had two assists and ended the weekend plus-four in the two games.
Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked nine shots and was plus-four over the weekend.
Stalberg got off the schnide and scored a goal for the first time since Nov. 14 against Anaheim.
And Marty Turco won for only the second time since Nov. 17th.