Coming off a big win against Washington at home, and only a couple of days away from playing the dreaded Vancouver Canucks, if ever there was a possibility of a trap game during a playoff push, Tuesday's game in Columbus might be it.
If that's even possible considering Columbus not only has the worst record in the league (23-42-7), it has also totaled 7 goals in its last five games. On top of that, the Blackhawks have outscored the Blue Jackets 26-9 in winning the first five meetings, with each game decided by at least 3 goals.
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"Everyone knows the rivalry, the history with the amount of times we've played each other in the playoffs," Patrick Kane said of Wednesday's game against Vancouver. "It's always a fun game when we play them.
"We'll look forward to that one when it comes, but we've got Columbus on Tuesday. We'll worry about that one first and then get our heads ready for Vancouver when we come back Wednesday."
How quickly things change:
Just a week ago, goalie Corey Crawford was wondering when or if he would ever get back in net, now he's being named the NHL's second star of the week for his 3-0 record, 1.09 goals-against average and .948 save percentage as the Blackhawks continue to roll (7-1-1 in their last nine games).
Crawford (25-16-5) stopped all 18 shots he faced in 45 minutes of relief of Ray Emery and denied all three challengers in the shootout in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the St. Louis Blues on March 13. He closed the week by making 21 saves in a 4-1 win at Dallas and had 16 stops in a 5-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was the No. 1 star while winger Martin Erat of Nashville was the third star.
Don't look now, but rookie Andrew Shaw is becoming a bit of a scoring machine.
The 20-year-old registered the first multi-goal game and first 3-point game of his career against Washington, with 2 goals and an assist. He now averages .54 points per game, having posted 15 points (9G, 6A) in 28 games and ranks fourth in points per game among Western Conference rookies appearing in 20-plus games.
"I thought he started like that when he was here the first time, there's a lot of things in his game you admire," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You like the way he competes, he's got some sandpaper to his game. He's got some nice things offensively that he does, and playing against top guys, there's got to be an awareness that you grow into, but I think there's a learning curve that he's adapting to."
Local kid on board:
The Blackhawks agreed to terms with forward Terry Broadhurst, a native of Orland Park, on a two-year contract.
Broadhurst, 23, served as team captain during his junior season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha this year, establishing career bests in goals (16), assists (20) and points (36) in 38 games. He ranked second on the club in goals and points, and shared sixth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with a team-high 7 power-play goals.