Strome, DeBrincat, Kahun lead Blackhawks to 7th straight victory
When Dylan Strome first came to the Blackhawks in a trade with Arizona, coach Jeremy Colliton did the logical thing and put him on a line with good buddy Alex DeBrincat.
Surely, their chemistry from playing together in juniors would reignite immediately and they'd help the Hawks improve upon their dismal 9-10-5 record.
The Hawks went a pitiful 1-9-1 during Strome's first 11 games with the Hawks as he and DeBrincat struggled to get much going.
So Colliton broke them up for a while. And the overall results improved.
But when the Hawks hit another rough patch and lost seven of eight to begin this calendar year, Colliton completely reshuffled the lines and put DeBrincat and Strome back together against the defending-champion Washington Capitals on Jan. 20.
Since then, it's been pure magic and it continued in dramatic fashion during a 5-2 victory over Detroit at the United Center on Sunday as the DeBrincat-Strome-Dominik Kahun line completely flummoxed the Red Wings.
Kahun scored twice and added an assist; Strome scored and had 2 assists; and DeBrincat racked up 3 assists as the Hawks (23-24-9) won their seventh straight. Patrick Kane (goal, assist) extended his point streak to 14 games, Jonathan Toews scored his 25th goal of the season and Cam Ward made 43 saves.
The Hawks are 4 points behind St. Louis, which is in the second wild-card spot.
Arizona gave up on Strome and Brendan Perlini on Nov. 25 and sent them to the Hawks in exchange for Nick Schmaltz.
The move lit a fire under Strome and we are now seeing the player the Coyotes thought they drafted with the third overall pick in 2015.
"I'm having fun playing hockey again," he said. "Our team's winning, I'm producing offensively and I feel good."
Strome had 3 goals and 3 assists in 20 games with Arizona this season. In his last seven, he has 4 goals and 10 assists.
Go ahead and credit some of that success to the reunion with DeBrincat. But don't discount the culture and positive attitude that emanates from Toews, Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook -- grizzled veterans who know what it takes to win a lot of games in this league.
"It's pretty cool," Strome said. "You've got a lot of guys that won championships in here that are still battling every single day and putting their lives on the line and winning battles for us.
"Duncs and Seabs are constantly win battles in our 'D' zone. They each play about 20 minutes a night or maybe more.
"When you see guys like that doing it … it just translates to everyone else. They're doing it and they've already won that many times. It just shows how much they want to win again and we're trying to help them do that."
Strome gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead by racing to the net and kicking in Kahun's pass with 1:57 remaining in the first period. He also helped restore that 2-goal lead with a perfect feed to a wide-open Kahun in the third period. With the Red Wings' Jonathan Ericsson all over him, Strome managed to flip the puck to a charging Kahun, and Kahun backhanded a shot that went between Jonathan Bernier's legs.
Detroit made things interesting when Gustav Nyquist scored with 4:30 remaining, but Kane took a long feed from Toews and beat Bernier just 57 seconds later.
"Let's keep this rolling," Ward said. "Winning's fun and the guys worked hard once again."
Kane now has 33 goals and 81 points. Kahun, meanwhile, has scored seven times in the last 15 games. He had just 4 goals in the first 41.