If the Blackhawks are going to qualify for the NHL playoffs, they will need steady play from Anton Forsberg.
Coach Joel Quenneville may only start his backup goalie 15-20 times, but those are big points for the Hawks. They can't end up with something like a .400 points percentage in those games or they are in deep trouble.
So when Forsberg allowed 2 quick goals Saturday in Carolina -- two weeks after allowing 5 goals in under 27 minutes in his last start at Colorado -- there was cause for concern.
Fortunately for the Hawks, Forsberg regained his composure and saved 25 of the next 26 shots he saw in a 4-3 overtime victory.
"As you go along, goalies have got to battle. I like the battle that he showed in that game," Quenneville said. "Felt good that he gets over that first hurdle of getting that first win."
Indeed, it was Forsberg's first victory in a Hawks uniform and just his second in the NHL. In 15 games, Forsberg is 2-9-0 with a 3.97 goals-against average.
Quenneville turned to Forsberg on Sunday after Corey Crawford allowed 6 goals in the first two periods against New Jersey. Forsberg stopped 12 of 13 shots in the 7-5 loss.
"(The victory over Carolina) is going to help his confidence," Quenneville said. "I liked his demeanor as he was going through it as well. Good response. That's what we were looking for."
Alex DeBrincat, who had 1 goal and 3 assists after 11 games, has exploded the past seven games.
"He's going to be a fun player to watch," said Joel Quenneville.
DeBrincat scored twice and dished out the primary assist in the Hawks' come-from-behind victory over Carolina, then scored Sunday against New Jersey. Against the Devils, he ended up with a season-high 5 shots on goal, a few of which just missed the mark.
"He can make a lot of plays off of not a lot of time or space," Quenneville said. "I like his creativity and patience and play recognition. … He had a real good weekend."
DeBrincat (6G, 5A) is on pace for a 50-point season.
Vinnie Hinostroza scored a pair of goals in Rockford's 5-2 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday as the IceHogs (8-6-0) snapped a four-game losing streak. Hinostroza leads the team with 15 points (7 goals), but he doesn't appear to be a candidate for a call-up to the Blackhawks just yet.
"It's not like we're disappointed in anybody up here," coach Joel Quenneville said.