Frolik playing with confidence

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Frolik playing with confidence

The Chicago Blackhawks forward broke out on a rush last night and helped set up Dave Bolland's game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets. It was another good play by a guy who's gotten better since Day 1 of camp.

And it seems like it's only a matter of time that the numbers are going to start coming.

Michael Frolik has found his niche on the Blackhawks' checking line, a valuable partner to Bryan Bickell and Bolland. Frolik is a solid defensive player; and while the offensive threat has yet to be felt this season, the potential is there.

"Since the first time he's hit the ice (this fall) there's a real committed purpose to having a big year," coach Joel Quenneville said of Frolik. "You can see the pace to his game, he has the puck more and he does a lot of good things. His numbers haven't been reflective of how effective he's been this year."

Frolik's confidence was shaky when he first arrived in February, the acquisition when the Blackhawks traded Jack Skille to the Florida Panthers. Frolik had had two 21-goal seasons in a row but had just nine goals when the trade occurred.

"When I came here it wasn't good. I couldn't score for that long stretch but the guys helped me here," he said. "Coach just said, 'Don't worry about it and just play the game. The points will come.' So I tried not to think about it."

By the postseason it was obvious Frolik was feeling better about his game. He especially excelled once he, Bickell and Bolland reunited after Bolland's injury, and his Game 6 penalty shot helped the Blackhawks force Game 7 against Vancouver.

Frolik rode that wave entering this preseason. A new three-year contract didn't hurt, either.

"It's nice when you have that," Frolik said. "You don't have to worry about next year and how you season's going to be. You're more comfortable. I can set up here and live a while here I hope."

Frolik is in a good place on and off the ice. He's found great chemistry with Bickell and Bolland. He's got himself a new place to live downtown. The confidence is evident in his game, and he can only go up from here.

"Michael's game has been elevated. It trended last year and really hit the high note in the playoffs; and he's taken off at that same level this year," Quenneville said. "We like his commitment to being a consistent player day in and day out."

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

Javier Baez won’t change his style around Cubs after World Baseball Classic: ‘We’re not showing anybody up’

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

Marian Hossa named Blackhawks' nominee for 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Illinois OLB Dawuane Smoot

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Jonathan Marchessault scored his first career hat trick, James Reimer stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Florida Panthers routed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-0 on Saturday night.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists, and Aleksander Barkov added a goal and two assists for Florida. Reilly Smith and Nick Bjugstad also scored to give the Panthers their largest margin of victory since an 8-0 win over Toronto on Feb. 5, 2008.

Marchessault had two goals in a 3-1 win over Arizona on Thursday. He has nine goals over his last nine games and leads the Panthers with 28.

Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots for the Blackhawks before being lifted at 4:59 of the third for Scott Darling, who allowed three goals on six shots.

Already leading 3-0, the Panthers poured in four goals in the third.