Remember when the Blackhawks lost nine straight games and tumbled from first to sixth in the Western Conference standings?
While the Blackhawks likely won't return to their perch atop the standings, they have reclaimed a lot of the ground they lost during that winter slide. Tuesday night's 5-1 dismemberment of the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena was their fourth straight win and their eighth in their last 10 games. They are now two points behind Detroit and Nashville and within striking distance of home ice in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
Patrick Sharp led the Hawks with two goals Tuesday night, and Duncan Keith had four assists. Andrew Shaw, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook chipped in a goal apiece. Corey Crawford mad 24 saves in goal.
Their on-ice performance was enough to make it a good night, but the Blackhawks received other good news Tuesday.
The Captain skates again
Jonathan Toews, out for 14 games with what is assumed to be a concussion, was on the ice Tuesday in Chicago. "It's always good to see him on the ice," coach Joel Quenneville said of Toews. "He's progressing." Wednesday night's giveaway at the United Center is a Toews bobblehead, by the way.
Coach Q is safe
Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz told ESPNChicago on Tuesday that coach Joel Quenneville will be back next season. "Oh yeah, there would be no reason [not to retain him]," Wirtz said. "He's signed, they're playing for him. He's not a players' coach, which is good, but he's good with younger players. St. Louis is a prime example. They changed coaches and there was nothing wrong, he just wasn't good with younger players ...
Luongo's the man to beat
When the Blackhawks face their nemesis the Canucks on Wednesday night at the United Center, Roberto Luongo will be Vancouver's goalie. The Hawks always seem to give Luongo fits. In their last meeting, Cory Schneider was in goal for the Canucks, much to Blackhawks fans' chagrin.