A bit of rest is what ends up best for the Blackhawks
CHICAGO – Games like the one on January 26th don’t happen that often, especially to the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
In a rare lethargic start to the game the Blackhawks fell behind to the Hurricanes 3-0 in Raleigh and never recovered in a five-goal defeat. It was the Blackhawks’ third loss in four games which followed a franchise-record 12-game winning streak, but little did they know the best was yet to come.
Nothing. That was what was coming for the Blackhawks and it was the best thing for them.
"I think it was big for a lot of guys," admitted Patrick Kane at practice on Tuesday of the five-day All-Star break that followed the blowout in Carolina.
Their results since then would prove that. The refreshed team came out and won their first three games of the second half, all of them on the road with their best win coming in the final game. That was against the Stars in Dallas on Saturday and the Blackhawks blew out their closest competitor in the Western Conference.
With a 5-1 win the Hawks took a five-point lead in the division and their reward is a return home to the United Center for a quartet of games over the next week-and-a-half. Before the team beings the stretch, captain Jonathan Toews insisted the team benefitted from the extended time off.
"They've come out having used the rest they had over the break, playing the way we have the last three, it's good to get right back on track," said Toews.
An opportunity to do that comes with the next four games at home where the Blackhawks are a solid 21-5-1 during the 2015-2016 season. They've yet to lose a game at home in the new year at home with their last defeat coming to the Hurricanes on December 27th.
While healthy and well rested as they can be, the Blackhawks don't want to let up as they approach the stretch run of their season.
"Maybe it takes a little pressure off," said goalie Corey Crawford of returning home to the United Center. "But at the same time you don't want to feel too comfortable. We have some tough games coming up."
But at the very least the team's energy is up after taking some time to do absolutely nothing.