Blackhawks: So far, so good...

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Blackhawks: So far, so good...

Its tough to get excited after just two games into the Blackhawks season. While some are already thinking Stanley Cup Finals in the middle of the summer, Im holding judgment until the team at least gets through the first 12 games, 10 of those on the road.

But its hard not to be optimistic after seeing the damage theyve done while on the road out west.

People were worried about the Blackhawks handling the energy the Kings would feed off of after the raising the 2012 Stanley Cup banner. In the end, fans had nothing to worry about as history repeated itself. Defending cup champs have now won just three times in the last 10 years the day they raise the banner.

Joel Quenneville and the Hawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. A convincing win - a win on the road against the defending champs - to start the shortened 48-game season.

Just over 24 hours later, I kept hearing the word revenge being thrown around when the Blackhawks and Coyotes were set to face-off. Did the Coyotes eliminate the Blackhawks last season? Yes. Was there bad blood between the two teams? Yes. Did Raffi Torres turn Marian Hossas offseason upside down after having to recover from a concussion? Yes.

But if you believe the Blackhawks were thinking revenge when taking the ice, I think you were wrong. There is no time to think revenge when EVERY point means something this season.

Even after the Coyotes jumped out to an early lead, I had a feeling that wouldnt be the only goal scored in the game. In fact, there were nine more scored, fortunately six were by the Blackhawks.

And it wasnt just the Blackhawks scoring goals Sunday night, it was how they were scoring them.

Great vision on a power play, a wicked wrister top shelf, a give-and-go that worked to perfection and fighting through a check to set up a point-blank shot. Those converted scoring chances were no flukes.

Added optimism is whos scoring the goals. In a shortened season, the big boys need to show up early and often. Aside from Hossas four goals and one assist, the other top forwards on the team (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland) have scored at least one goal and added one assist. Will this scoring keep up? You would hope so, but when games start coming every other day, it may be hard to find the scoring touch every night. But its a good sign that at least the guys who are supposed to be finding the back of the net, are doing so to set the pace for the rest of the club.

When Hossa compared this team to the 2010 squad after the win in Phoenix, there was no one laughing about the comment.

And when Joel Quenneville was asked about what Hossa said, he didnt back down from saying that the current team is capable of playing against anyone, because the roster is so deep.

You have to be happy as a Blackhawks fan. Eleven goals scored in two games, on the road, against the two teams that were in the conference finals last season.

Now, they get to walk the red carpet before opening up the United Center Tuesday night. But the 2-0 start wont mean a thing if they dont come out ready to play against St. Louis, a rival that won the division last year.

Buckle up Blackhawk fans. Youre in for a wild ride, one that will hopefully last long enough to be tailgating in the United Center parking lot before Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.