When the Blackhawks were in Nashville last week, coach Joel Quenneville talked about the Blackhawks response, or lack thereof, when they trailed.
We havent responded to being scored on, he said at the time. Lets try to be tight in that area. If we do get scored on, lets not get distracted.
At the time, the Blackhawks were plenty distracted by that winless streak. When teams struck first they werent responding well or sometimes even at all. But as the Blackhawks have built another winning run they have been responding the right way.
The Blackhawks have trailed 1-0 in their last three games but have won each of them; in fact, theyve held their opponents to just that first goal in each, too. Its a distinct change since the Blackhawks losing streak, when a quick one-goal deficit usually turned in to much more, fast.
So whats been the difference in this winning streak?
Weve done a better job of just sticking with the system and playing our game, defenseman Brent Seabrook said. Wed think we had to get it back right away and wed get off track and loosen everything up. And if we didnt score theyd get quality chances and it seemed like it snowballed from there.
Quenneville said the Blackhawks have practiced patience more.
Weve stayed with it and maybe we dont have to chase and feel we need a goal right away. When we do that we get on the wrong side of pucks, he said. Theres confidence in our team now, where before when we were in that stretch and wed get scored upon, you could see and feel the team sag. It was noticeable on the ice and the bench. But weve kept our composure in our games.
It took a little longer to get leads on some of these guys, Quenneville said. But we got the response we like.
Yes, it took the Blackhawks until the third period to take leads on both the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. But they got them eventually, and what helped them greatly was not giving up more than that one goal to each team.
You look back at bad losses: in Edmonton we get down a goal or two and we try to play a chuck-in game, run-and-gun, and thats not how we want to play, Viktor Stalberg said. The last couple of games weve been sticking to the system and it seems to be paying off. Were slowly taking over games, getting momentum and chances and getting scoring from all our lines which has helped out a lot.
The Blackhawks have been finding the right answers in their victories. Sure, theyd love to avoid any deficit, even a 1-0 one. But when theyve fallen behind lately, they havent been panicking.
Through those nine games we were taking high risks and they werent paying off, Bryan Bickell said. Even though were down one or two we just have to stick to the system. Its been working out great and hopefully we keep on doing it. Its a lot more fun to win than lose.