It was a rough weekend for the Chicago Blackhawks, as they only managed to get one out of a possible four points in losses to the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings.
The losses were the Blackhawks’ third and fourth in a row, and put them further behind in the Central Division race.
While the Blackhawks rest and recuperate before a tough road matchup against the Washington Capitals, we’re naming our Three Stars of the weekend that provided some rare bright spots for a struggling team.
Third Star: John Hayden
John Hayden has been up and down in the Blackhawks’ lineup this season, but he was a big-time energy player all weekend for Chicago, registering five hits against the Stars Saturday before being bumped up to the top line for some shifts on Sunday.
In that game, Hayden had an impact on the team’s possession numbers, putting up a 54.6 percent Corsi rating in the game. Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, who have been struggling at times lately, had positive possession nights as well, and could potentially be starting a turnaround.
Second Star: Jonathan Toews
Toews, who had one of the worst games of his career last week against the Dallas Stars, rebounded nicely over the weekend, generating six shots on goal Saturday and then scoring a tally against Los Angeles on Sunday.
Needless to say, Toews needs to step up his game in a big way if the Blackhawks are going to get out of their losing funk. As Second City Hockey’s Satchel Price pointed out after the game, Toews has two even strength goals in the team’s last 24 games, and Saad has three. That simply isn’t good enough, and the top line needs to find its form soon.
First Star: Anton Forsberg
Playing in relief of Corey Crawford, Anton Forsberg had two strong games, stopping 33 shots against the Stars on Saturday and allowing just one goal to the Kings on Sunday.
One of the big concerns surrounding the team going into the season was whether or not Forsberg would be able to step up his game and match the skill and intensity that players like Scott Darling and Antti Raanta have brought to the crease, and in these last two games, he’s shown some serious potential.
Crawford will be hitting the ice at some point in the coming week, and they likely won’t have to rely on Forsberg for the long term.