The Chicago Blackhawks have dropped their past two games quite fantastically to Colorado and Edmonton and look to correct that Thursday night in Columbus against the surging Blue Jackets. Thursday night’s game in Columbus will be the first of a four-game road trip for the Madhouse Gang.
As they say, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Well, the Blackhawks almost became a bit of their own legend as they continued to rack up points and exciting overtime wins in the first half of the 2012 – 2013 season – but it had to end sometime. With an injury-ridden roster, the Hawks showed resiliency despite missing key players like Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, and Dave Bolland. Colorado had two chances to take down the Madhouse Gang and were able to make them pay on that second night. Still, a 4-goal first period from Edmonton was very much unexpected on Sunday before the Hawks made a stunning comeback that fell just short.
The Blackhawks look to forget those games and shut down Columbus in their own house, who have won 5 of their last 6 games. A team that has struggled through recent seasons, the Blue Jackets have made a statement over the last two weeks and perhaps the biggest statement of all would be a win against the dominant Blackhawks Thursday night in Columbus. It does not seem implausible, considering the fits that Columbus gave Chicago in their last meeting, which ended in a Blackhawks 3 – 2 OT victory just two weeks ago.
So the Hawks have dropped two games in a row: is it time to panic? Not quite yet. Sure, Anaheim is within reach of the Hawks and have been playing very well. In fact, Chicago’s historic streak almost certainly had a hand in quieting the Ducks’ surge this season, who are 19 – 3 – 3 through 25 games thus far. Not to worry, though – the Blackhawks are under great leadership and have been producing incredible numbers on all four lines so far. Not to mention Chicago’s backup goaltender was in the Top 5 in the league for a while this season! So no – it’s not time to panic just yet.
Keep an eye out for the Hawks to hold a strong blue line, push a fast-paced game, and keep a tight crease in Columbus. Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery experienced replacement in the past week, so you can imagine the hunger for a better performance from the both of them for the remainder of the season. From Columbus, look for physical play to be a key factor. They know that the Hawks like to skate fast because it creates more offensive opportunities, so the Blue Jackets will be looking for chances to make big hits and slow down the Hawks whenever possible.
Whatever happens, a win from both teams will have a significant impact for the rest of the season. It’s a great night for hockey, Hawks fans!