Three unlikely heroes emerged in Calgary on Saturday night to help the Blackhawks find some footing near the end of their five-game road trip (currently 1-3-0) that wraps up Sunday in Winnipeg.
Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach hadn’t scored a goal in six games; Alex DeBrincat had one marker in his past nine after finishing last season with 41; Alex Nylander had one goal in his past 17 contests.
The trio bounced back against the Flames to help the Hawks to an 8-4 victory.
Nylander scored twice and DeBrincat and Dach each had a goal.
“It’s a learning process for us that [haven’t] been through this,” Nylander said after the game. “And we are lucky that we have these vets that are on our team that can help us and see that something like this in the season happens.”
The most surprising of all the Hawks that had gone cold this season was DeBrincat, who before posting 41 goals last season had 28 as a rookie the year prior.
“I’ve been fighting with the puck a little bit too much,” he said. “Even today, I didn’t really play that well, but finally got rewarded.”
Having the three forwards off the schneid could play a big factor in the Hawks – six points out of a playoff spot – putting a streak together to help keep their playoff hopes stay alive.
“Those guys, they have the ability to chip in for us offensively and if they can do that it’s going to make a big difference for us,” Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the three. “Ultimately, it comes down to their work ethic away from the puck.”
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews felt Dach, DeBrincat and Nylander gave the Hawks a much-needed lift on Saturday.
“For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy, it gives you a lift,” Toews said. “It’s nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in.
“I think even if you’re just on the ice, you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals is infectious. So it’s nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it’s an incentive to keep doing the same thing.”
Hopefully the goal infection spreads for the Hawks. Despite being six points out of the playoffs, Chicago has three games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Scoring contributions will have to come from across the board for the Blackhawks to go on a successful run to secure a playoff spot with 24 regular season games remaining.
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