By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Blackhawks have a three-game winning streak going for them after their 3-2 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers Tuesday night. At 15-11-5, Chicago sits right outside the second wild card spot as they are tied with the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild at 35 points.
The last three games were against the Panthers, Coyotes and Sabres. All of which were sub.-500 teams and all at home. The Blackhawks were able to come away with six points despite some issues. It took ovetime to beat the Sabres and Panthers and a late goal surge to beat the Coyotes 3-1 as they were scoreless most of the game. These are winning efforts no doubt, but in no ways dominating, which can be concerning considering what their schedule looks like moving forward.
The Blackhawks have struggled very much against division foes, which is a primary reason why they sit outside looking in the Stanley Cup playoffs right now. They have three straight division games coming up as they play the Jets, Wild and Stars plus seven of the next eight games are on the road.
The defense is banged up as Cody Franson has been placed on IR and Jan Rutta will not make the trip to Winnipeg. Ville Pokka has been called up from AHL Rockford to fill in, but this can be very trouble-some for the Blackhawks over the next few days.
The good news is that Kane, Toews and Saad are starting to score again as all three had points the last game. It is also worth noting that Corey Crawford came back Friday night as he has surrendered just five goals on 97 shots in the past three games. He is going to have his work cut out for him with a thinner defense that has struggled all year against some high-scoring teams coming up.