Here are my takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.
The real Delia…so far
Patrick Kane notched the seventh hat trick of his career, and Brandon Saad finally returned to the score sheet with two goals, but the story of the night had to be Collin Delia’s 46-save performance against Minnesota. It was a career-high showing for the young netminder. Last night was also Delia’s second career win in the United Center. His first one came during the infamous Scott Foster game last season, where he made 20 saves and got credited for the win against the Winnipeg Jets. It’s a small sample size, but Delia has been playing like a veteran out there, making the easy saves and looking composed while making the big ones. The Blackhawks are in the middle of a run right now, winning four of their last five games. Delia may prove to be the stabilizing force that they need, along with the veteran presence of Cam Ward, to keep this run going.
A bit lopsided
The Wild finished the night with 48 shots on goal. They outshot Chicago 15-4 in the first frame. The Blackhawks only generated 20 shots on goal after all was said and done. But the Blackhawks owned the Wild in capitalizing on those shots on goal. They converted on three of their first ten shots on goal against Devan Dubynk, who was pulled after Kane scored his second of the night on the power play. Alex Stalock, who took over for Dubynk, only saved eight of the ten that he faced.
The power play
How bad has the Blackhawks’ power play been? Well, last night, game #40, was the first game all season where Chicago scored two power play goals. But the man-advantage for the Hawks has been humming along as of late. They have scored a power play goal in four of their last five games, and they are no longer in last place as far as PP conversion. Baby steps.
I would be remiss to not talk about the game Patrick Kane had last night. The Christmas break did not slow him down one bit. With his hat trick, Kane now paces all Blackhawks skaters with 20 goals and 47 points. He is currently on a five-game point streak. In fact, Kane has only been held out of the score sheet eight times this year. That’s eight games out of the 40 that the Hawks have played so far.
A bit of history
Buried in all the good news is the fact that Jonathan Toews is now tied for eighth overall in the Blackhawks’ list for assists. The two that he notched last night brings him to 400 career assists, tying the great Pierre Pilote. Toews’ resurgence this year has been one of the more brighter spots in an otherwise challenging season. He has had eight points in his last seven games.
With last night’s win, the Blackhawks improve to 14-20-6. They are still currently last in the Central Division and 29th in the league. They are still seven points out of the last wild card spot in the West, currently held by the Dallas Stars. They are back at it tomorrow night, when they face the Colorado Avalanche for the second time in as many weeks at the Pepsi Center.