For the first time since they wrapped up a six game road trip on February 10th against the Nashville Predators, the Chicago Blackhawks will hit the road for a four game trek starting on Thursday night against the red hot Blue Jackets.
Over the course of the next seven days, the Hawks will make stops in Central Ohio and Anaheim, but will also play two games against teams with whom they will be paired with in their newly realigned Midwestern division next season, with Dallas and Colorado being the sites of those matchups.
So what will be the key to the Hawks righting the ship after their two game losing skid last weekend? Here’s a game-by-game preview of what’s to come for this team:
Thursday: at Columbus
A couple of weeks ago, most Hawks fans would have looked at this game and thought that it would be a cakewalk. The Jackets were once again in their traditional spot at the bottom of the Central Division standings, and the Hawks were flying high.
Now, the Jackets are playing some great hockey, and the Hawks have been floundering a bit. What could have been an opportunity for Viktor Stalberg to improve upon his already gaudy numbers against this team could really turn into a battle tonight, and the Hawks have to be ready to fight after three days of rest.
Saturday: at Dallas
The last time these two teams played in Dallas, the Hawks spotted the Stars an early 2-0 lead, but were able to come back and win on an overtime goal by Marian Hossa.
This time, the Hawks need to make sure not to rely on coming back from a deficit. They almost did Sunday against Edmonton, but they simply dug themselves too big a hole. They need to get their foot on the gas early and try to bury the Stars as quickly as possible, if they want to ensure themselves as easy a victory as they had against St. Louis on the last day of February.
Monday: at Colorado
When the Avalanche ended the Blackhawks’ point streak last Friday night, it wasn’t just a victory for them. It was an out-and-out butt whooping that the Avs put on the Hawks, and Chicago was outplayed in every single aspect of the game.
The Blackhawks need to keep that drubbing in mind when they hit the Pepsi Center ice next week, or else they could risk allowing the potent Avalanche offensive attack to bury them yet again.
Wednesday: at Anaheim
Largely lost in the Blackhawks’ great start to the season was just how well the Anaheim Ducks played over the same stretch. As it stands right now, the Hawks have only had a couple hiccups, and yet the Ducks are only four points behind them with a game in hand.
If the Hawks want to grab home-ice advantage in the Western Conference, they are going to need to win these types of head-to-head matchups, especially with the only team that is within 15 points of them in the standings.