Blackhawks fall to Jets in OT, but gain confidence, momentum

Here are some takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 OT loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

A good first period
The Blackhawks had their best first period in what seemed to be eternity on Wednesday night, leaving the frame up 2-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They followed that up last night with another solid first period. Sure, they gave up the first goal again, but, unlike the last two times that they faced this Winnipeg team, they didnt leave the period down a big hole. Rather, they fought back. And who better to lead the counter attack than the Captain. Jonathan Toews took matters into his own hands, sniping one past Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit in the dying seconds of the first.

The Captain is back…
There’s no other way to describe it, really. Jonathan Toews is back,a dn he is on fire. The Captain tallied two goals last night, bringing his total to 16 for the year in 34 games. He currently leads the team in this department. Toews is currently on pace for 38 goals for the year, which would eclipse his career high of 34, set in the ’08-’09 campaign. Toews has also benefited from having a little bit of consistency in his linemates. Brandon Saad, who has been one of the brighter spots of the recent slump the Blackhawks wre mired in, has continued to be really good. And his line with Toews and Dominik Kahun created a lot of high-danger scoring chances last night.

…and so is the compete level
They may have not completed the comeback, but the past two games have shown a level of compete in the Blackhawks that was lacking during their eight-game losing streak. They have been creating more chances. They have been keeping the game simple, not trying anything cute. Sure, the defensive lapses are still there, but, unlike before, it doesn’t seem to rattle them as much. The addition of Carl Dahlstrom and the return of Connor Murphy seemed to have given some much-needed stability in Jeremy Colliton’s third defensive pairing. They have also been more confident on the ice. Jonathan Toews’ celly on his second goal last night, holstering his stick like a rifle, shows you that the Captain is feeling good about how he, and the team, is doing. That kind of confidence can be infectious, especially in a young team like the Blackhawks. And if Erik Gustafsson’s heroic goal with seconds left in the third is any indication, the fight seems to be back in these Blackhawks.

The Hawks are back at it Sunday night, their fourth game in seven days, when they host the San Jose Sharks.

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