The Chicago Blackhawks moved into a tie atop the Western Conference on Wednesday with their 6-5 win against the St. Louis Blues.
With two games left in the season the Blackhawks have put themselves in prime position to win the Western Conference, setting a franchise high in wins and points.
The Hawks have gotten hot at the right time, winning their last 5 games, after a post-olympic slump saw the team drop a season high 3 games in regulation.
Since then, Coach Quenneville has made all the right moves. The juggling of the lines has led to a late-season return to offensive form (17 goals scored during their 5-game winning streak).
The move of Dustin Byfuglien to defense has helped ease the loss of Brian Campbell. Byfuglien is +7 and has 4 points during the win streak.
And finally, the move that most of us saw coming. The move of Antti Niemi to starting goaltender gives us an indication that Quenneville is ready to give up on his “goalie by committee” system. Having been shown that coach Q has confidence in his young goaltender, Niemi has been able to build momentum going into what is his first postseason as, hopefully, a full-time starter.
However, a late-game defensive breakdown against the Blues proved that the Hawks still have some fine-tuning to do before the end of the regular season.
The Blackhawks need to learn how to put the defensive clamps on and put teams away in order to achieve their “one goal”… Lord Stanley’s Cup.