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Hawks stay atop standings to start stretch run

by Mackenzie McCluer / Chicago Blackhawks
March was in like a lion and out like a lamb for the Chicago Blackhawks, who started the month on an eight-game win streak and finished by going 2-3 in their final five contests. But by the end of the first week of April, the Hawks were back on top with a league-leading 58 points and 11 games left in the season.

toews celebration kings
Jonathan Toews reacts to a goal scored by Michael Frolik in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings on March 25, 2013, at the United Center. Despite multi-point efforts from Frolik, Toews and Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks fell to the Kings, 5-4.

saad kings
Brandon Saad battles through traffic against the Kings on March 25. The 20-year-old had one assist on the night, which tied him for fourth in points among NHL rookies.

crawford passing the puck
Corey Crawford moves the puck up the ice on March 25.

jimmy hayes kings
Jimmy Hayes, who was recalled from the AHL's Rockford IceHogs on March 12, chases down Drew Doughty of the Anaheim Ducks on March 25. Hayes posted three points in nine games with the Blackhawks before being reassigned to Rockford on April 2.

bollig with fan salute people
Brandon Bollig poses for photos after the game on March 25 with fans who won a player meet-and-greet through the Fan Salute program.

glenn hall bobblehead giveaway
The first 10,000 fans to enter the United Center on March 26, 2013, received a Glenn Hall bobblehead giveaway.

johnny oduya calgary
Johnny Oduya skates to the puck with Mike Cammalleri of the Calgary Flames in hot pursuit on March 26, 2013, at the United Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Flames 2-0 behind a shutout performance from Ray Emery and goals from Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook.

fans in the locker room
Fans who won a tour of the Blackhawks locker room through the Fan Salute program pause to take a photo of the Indianhead.

bolland close-up
Dave Bolland surveys the arena during a game against the Anaheim Ducks on March 29, 2013, at the United Center. The Ducks scored early in the second period and late in the third to win 2-1, completing a season sweep of the Blackhawks.

saad ducks
Brandon Saad challenges Ben Lovejoy of the Anaheim Ducks for control of the puck on March 29.

seabrook chattin with the ref
Brent Seabrook, who was named an alternate captain in place of injured Patrick Sharp, exchanges words with a referee on March 29.

silly strung
A young fan laughs after being covered with Silly String by Tommy Hawk during a game against the Nashville Predators on April 1, 2013, at the United Center.

scared crawford
Corey Crawford reacts to an impending shot from Taylor Beck of the Nashville Predators on April 1. Beck scored on the play to tie the game but couldn't deliver in the shootout, when Crawford stopped in him in the fifth round to seal a 3-2 victory.

toews shootout
Jonathan Toews fires the puck past a prone Pekka Rinne in the first round of a shootout on April 1.

kane shootout
Patrick Kane tries to slide the puck past Pekka Rinne in the shootout but ended up missing.

rozsival celebration
Michal Rozsival celebrates his game-winning shootout goal against the Predators on April 1. Click here to view the replay.

toews celebration with crawford
Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith congratulate Corey Crawford on the win over Nashville on April 1.

kruger face-off
Marcus Kruger prepares for a draw against Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues on April 4, 2013, at the United Center. The Blackhawks lost to the Blues 4-3 after a six-round shootout.

stalberg's face-mask
After taking a puck to the face on March 29 against the Anaheim Ducks — an injury that required upwards of 50 stitches — Viktor Stalberg donned an additional face shield to play the St. Louis Blues on April 4, 2013, at the United Center.

guy being weird on the zamboni
A fan makes a face while riding a Zamboni on April 4. Zamboni rides are available before the game and during both intermissions for a donation to the Blackhawks Charities.

handzus gettin' hit
New addition Michal Handzus, acquired on April 1 from the San Jose Sharks, takes a hit along the boards from Roman Polak of the St. Louis Blues in his first game as a Blackhawk this season. The 36-year-old Slovakia native also played for the Blackhawks in 2006-07.

Photos by Bill Smith, Chase Agnello-Dean and Mackenzie McCluer.

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