Consider all the hyperbole that has been thrown around about the Blackhawks push for a playoff spot.
- Marian Hossa needs to score.
- Dave Bolland needs to score.
- Patrick Kane needs to be more offensive.
- Jack Skille needs to do… anything.
- The Hawks need to kill penalties.
- Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook need to play smart, strong hockey.
- The Blackhawks need to win games against inferior opponents.
Well…? How’d they start the road trip in Columbus?
- Marian Hossa needs to score – one goal, one assist.
- Dave Bolland needs to score – one goal.
- Patrick Kane needs to be more offensive – one goal, one assist.
- Jack Skille needs to do… anything – one assist, plus-one, two hits.
- The Hawks need to kill penalties – killed all five Columbus power plays.
- Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook need to play smart, strong hockey – combined for one goal (Keith), two assists (both Seabrook), plus-one, one blocked shot and three hits in over 51 combined minutes.
- The Blackhawks need to win games against inferior opponents – 7-4 final score. Two points achieved.
So far, so good.
Nick Leddy was outstanding again, scoring his second NHL goal. Marty Turco allowed a soft goal to start the game, but fought off a number of great scoring chances to preserve the victory. Oh, and the Hawks scored two short-handed goals.
As expected it was Jonathan Toews that led the way to victory with a three-point night. He scored a ridiculous short-handed goal and added two assists, while rating plus-two and being credited with one blocked shot, hit and takeaway.
The only drawbacks to Tuesday night’s victory were the continued suckfest provided by Nick Boynton, who was lost most of the time he was on the ice and whose face could have been credited with a Columbus goal, and an apparent ankle injury to Jake Dowell on a blocked shot. After the block, Dowell struggled to get back to his feet and would not return from the dressing room.
Now, on to Vancouver where, unlike Tuesday night, the Hawks will face a quality opponent. The test will be seeing if they can continue some of the strong play from Tuesday night against the best in the West.