The Blackhawks must have done well on midterm exams when they were in school.
When questions are asked, the Hawks generally have the right answers -- as in Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
The Hawks have had trouble winning shootouts?
They won this one.
Patrick Kane was shut out in shootouts this season?
He drilled the winner this time.
They had been in a tiny slumber recently?
Five of a possible 6 points over the past three games takes care of that concern.
This game against the Bruins was a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup Final, and isn't it nice to type that any Chicago team was in last season's championship round?
The Hawks won the title by beating the Bruins in six games, and isn't it nice for any Chicago team to be defending champion of anything?
The flip side of nice is naughty, which opponents tend to be when they have a chance to measure themselves against the Stanley Cup winners.
"It was obviously heartbreaking," Sunday's edition of the Boston Herald quoted the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron as saying of losing last season's Final. "The last thing you want to do is to go out there and to lose when you're that close to the goal that you set for yourself."
So the Bruins had even more incentive than other teams have when they arrive in the United Center to play the champs. The result on this day was a game with playoff intensity, if not championship consequences.
Words like revenge and redemption are too potent for a regular-season game in winter compared to a playoff series in spring.
Still, hockey attitudes are different from those in other sports. The Spurs might get up for the Heat during this regular season after losing in last season's NBA Finals, but not like an NHL team might in similar circumstances.
Maybe it's just me, but it seems that hockey teams are more likely to hold grudges, whether it be from a fight or a cheap shot or losing the Stanley Cup Final.
"It was a great hockey game … the pace was tremendous," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said before adding of the Bruins, "That's a dangerous team."
So were the Ducks two days earlier in a game the Hawks won in regulation. So was the Avalanche earlier in the week in a game the Hawks lost in overtime.
These games served a valuable purpose for the Hawks. NHL teams in general have to concoct challenges to keep them interested during the frigid days of January.
The Ducks came to Chicago as NHL leaders in points, and the Bruins came in with the second-most points in the Eastern Conference. Playoff intensity was inevitable.
"It was pretty close (to a postseason feel)," Hawks goalie Corey Crawford said of Sunday's game. "It was two really good teams going back and forth at each other."
Most encouraging for the Hawks was claiming both points in overtime instead of leaving 1 on the ice, especially with Kane making the most of his shootout opportunity for a change.
Kane didn't attempt one of the razzle-dazzle, dipsy-doodle creations that make him one of the NHL's most entertaining players. Instead, he sort of slow-stepped toward the net and flicked a shot past goalie Tuukka Rask's stick side.
"He made a nice shot, a great move," Quenneville said. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said of a great goal-scorer like Kane's shootout slump, "At some point something's bound to go in."
This game-winner was the something, and Sunday was the sometime.
Any more questions for now?