The Blackhawks ended their 4-game winless streak last night, beating the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. The win would come on the tail-end of a back-to-back for both teams.
Dylan Strome and Alex Debrincat led the charge on a revamped 4th line, which was centered by Ryan Carpenter. The chemistry between Strome and Debrincat has been undeniable ever since their days in the Ontario Hockey League, where the pair played together for three years on the Erie Otters.
Before being reunited, both Debrincat and Strome were struggling to find their groove offensively. Fans were anxious to see the duo back together, considering the success they had late last year.
“I think we can just find each other pretty easily,” Strome said. “We were excited before the game to get back together and he’s obviously a great player. Tonight he found me a few times and I paid him back for one there in the slot, so it’s nice to be back on his line.”
Both players only had 4 points each heading into the game. Last night alone, they tallied 3 each. Strome had 2 goals and an assist; and Debrincat scored 1 goal with 2 assists.
“It’s a little bit of a reset I think,” DeBrincat said. “We know what we can do together, so trying to play some good, smart hockey and the bounces went our way today.”
After emphasising effort in his previous post-game interviews, Blackhawks Coach Jeremy Colliton would overhaul all his line combinations. In addition to reuniting Strome and Debrincat, he would also reunite Toews and Kane. He also split up what has arguably been the Hawks’ best line in Saad-Kampf-Kubalik, replacing Saad with Alex Nylander.
The changes would pay off, particularly for Nylander, who earned the third star of the game. Nylander has been solid ever since being a healthy scratch just two weeks ago. There is no doubt Colliton is hoping for a similar effect with Brent Seabrook, who was scratched for just the second time in his career last night. Dennis Gilbert would start in place of Seabrook.
“The (defense),” Colliton said. “I thought they were good. Pretty simple, made enough plays, but I thought our gap was pretty good. We were able to get stops in D-zone, we didn’t have to spend that much time in there and I think that helped our forwards. So, good performance.”
The Blackhawks now embark on a 4-game road trip, beginning Tuesday in Nashville and ending with a west coast stretch against Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose.