The Chicago Blackhawks entered their week-plus-long break on a bit of a roll. Despite dropping their last contest to the Florida Panthers 4-3, they entered the break winning five of their last six games and quietly have managed to get themselves back into the wild card race.
Jonathan Toews has kicked it into gear, and was named the NHL’s Third Star for the Week ending Jan. 19 after leading the league with nine points in four games, including an overtime game-winner in Ottawa. He is also pacing the NHL with 16 points since the calendar turned to 2020, including three multi-point games in a row.
Kane Makes History
Patrick Kane joined the ranks of the NHL elite having tallied 1,000 points in his NHL career, after his secondary assist on a goal by Brandon Saad eclipsed the four-digit total mark during the Hawks’ 5-2 win over the Jets on Jan. 19.
Kane is now in the company of Blackhawks legends Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, and Denis Savard as the only four Chicago players to collect 1000 points in the NHL.
Keeping it Going
The time off couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Blackhawks will look to keep the momentum going this week when they lace it up again tomorrow in Arizona taking on the Coyotes. After a quick trip up to Minnesota to face the Wild for a Tuesday night contest, they return home to host the Boston Bruins and close out their week on Sunday night with a road game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Saturday, Feb. 1 at Coyotes
After a 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings on Thursday night, the Coyotes are now 26-20-5 on the season and are currently in 3rd place in the Pacific Division. Taylor Hall is the Coyotes’ leader in points with 41 while Connor Garland leads the team with 16 goals.
Coyotes All-Star netminder Darcy Kuemper was scratched with a lower-body injury against the Kings and hasn’t played since Dec. 19. Kuemper has been practicing and could return tomorrow, but no announcement has been made as of yet. For Blackhawks keeper Antti Raanta has been assuming duties in net and is 9-11-2 on the year with one shutout and a goals against average of 2.99.
PREDICTION: Coyotes 4, Blackhawks 3
Tuesday, Feb. 4 at Wild
The Minnesota Wild entered the break with a 4-2 win over the struggling Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 22. Matt Dumba had two assists for the Wild, which won three of its last four games heading into the break and are currently sitting on a 23-21-6 record, good for seventh in the Central Division.
After falling behind early against the Wings, trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Wild rallied to come from behind, as they’ve done a lot this season. The Blackhawks will need to put their best effort out there for all three periods to keep the Wild offense in check.
It was the 15th time this season that the Wild scored at least three goals in a period, while forward Zach Parise extended his point streak to five games (five goals, one assist). Parise leads the Wild with 19 goals, while Eric Staal paces the offense with 38 points.
The Hawks will need to find an answer to Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk, who made 25 saves in the win over the Red Wings and is sitting on a 3.28 goals against average.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 5, Wild 2
Wednesday, Feb. 5 vs. Bruins
The Boston Bruins enter the weekend at 29-10-12 on the season, with a road record of 12-8-3 on the road. Currently in first place in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins also sit in second in the Eastern Conference with their 70 points — tied for second-most in the NHL.
The Bruins have been fantastic on both the offense and defense, as they are sixth in goals scored and second in goals allowed. With that level of consistency, the Bruins are among the best teams in the NHL.
David Pastrnak leads the Bruins charge with 70 points along with 37 goals. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is expected to be back in net tonight when the Bruins face the Winnipeg Jets. After sitting out three games before the bye week, Rask was a full participant in the last practice session.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Blackhawks 1
Sunday, Feb. 9 at Jets
Entering their game tonight against the Bruins, the Jets are coming off a four-game losing streak, having dropped games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Blackhawks. In those four games, the Jets have allowed 20 goals, while only finding their opponents’ net seven times.
With a 25-22-4 record on the season, the Jets are in fifth place in the Central Division, and boast a home record of only 11-11-2.
The Jets offense is led by Kyle Connor’s 25 goals, while Mark Scheifele leads in points with 54, only two goals behind Connor with 23. Connor Hellebuyck is the Jets’ primary netminder, posting a 2.94 goals against average with a 21-16 record and solid .917 save percentage.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Jets 2
Scott brings several years of local hockey coverage with the Kankakee Daily Journal to the Hockey Writers, along with coverage of NCAA Hockey, Softball, Basketball, and Soccer with HEROSports. He is also a regular contributor to FloSoftball and Coach & Athletic Director Magazine.