Left for dead by many hockey observers, the Chicago Blackhawks have surged back into contention as they beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Sunday for their seventh straight win.
The victory puts the Blackhawks four points out of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, and with games remaining against foes that they are chasing, there is still a chance that Chicago could make its way improbably into the postseason.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, here are the Three Stars of Sunday’s game:
Third Star: Dylan Strome
The Blackhawks took a chance in acquiring Strome from the Coyotes, but he has been as good as advertised in Chicago. He took another big step forward on Sunday afternoon, registering a goal and two assists as he once again showed great chemistry with Alex DeBrincat.
Since he was acquired by the Blackhawks, Strome has averaged nearly a point per game, with 11 goals and 19 assists to his credit in 32 contests. He has been a valuable power play weapon as well, with eight points in those games, and he is averaging nearly four minutes more per game with Chicago than he did with the Arizona Coyotes.
Second Star: Cam Ward
An underrated part of the Blackhawks’ recent success has been the strong goaltending they’ve received, and after a rough goal in the second period, Ward was absolutely outstanding again on Sunday, stopping 43 shots in the winning effort.
Ward has played in four of the Blackhawks’ last seven victories, and he has dominated, giving up nine goals in those games and putting up an impressing .940 save percentage. He may be one of the Blackhawks on the trade block as the deadline nears, but with the team’s current playoff positioning and with Corey Crawford’s uncertain health, he could remain here for the remainder of the season.
First Star: Dominik Kahun
After 56 games, the Blackhawks now have seven players with at least 10 goals, as Kahun notched a pair of tallies in the team’s victory on Sunday.
While he may not get the amount of attention that other high-flying youngsters like DeBrincat and Strome get, Kahun is quietly putting together a strong season, as he now has 11 goals and 15 assists and has appeared in ever Blackhawks game. He also has zero penalty minutes this season, meaning that if he can go without a penalty in Chicago’s remaining 26 games, he would become the first player in league history to ever go an entire season with committing a penalty.