On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks continued their roll through tough Western Conference opponents with a dominating 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
The game’s Number One Star was Jack Skille, who scored two goals in the victory. However, the third start may be the biggest reason the Blackhawks are playing their way back into the Western Conference picture.
Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks rookie between the pipes, had another outstanding night. He kept 24 of 25 shots out of the net, with the only goal he allowed on a power play.
Crawford has been outstanding in December. His win Wednesday extended his record in the month to 5-2-1 with a .920 save percentage and 2.23 goals against average. One of those losses was in relief in Colorado, when he allowed two goals in 19 shots to the Avalanche in a 7-5 loss.
He is one of the many players that have been long-term prospects in the organization making strong contributions. Bryan Bickell scored his 10th goal of the season and was plus-three on the night. Skille’s two goals give him six on the season – four against Nashville – and he is up to 14 points this year. Jake Dowell added an assist, his fourth in six games, and raised his plus-minus mark to plus-10, the best among all Hawks forwards.
The Blackhawks have now won three straight games against Detroit, Los Angeles and Nashville, and have done so without Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane or Viktor Stalberg. The team defense has been greatly improved since the two ugly losses to the Avalanche, and the scoring has continued to come from every line coach Joel Quenneville puts on the ice.
If the Blackhawks are indeed figuring “it” out, now is the time. The Hawks play nine of their next 14 games at the United Center, where they have won six of eight since the Circus Trip.