Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville is running out of superlatives when he talks about winger Martin Havlat.
“Marty’s playing great lately,” he said. “That whole line [of Havlat, Andrew Ladd and Dave Bolland
] has been effective; they scored a pretty goal off the rush, too. Havy [in particular] has been really good.”
Havlat capped what has been a stellar nine games with another highlight-reel goal – this time the game-winner in overtime against Jean-Sebastien Giguere – as the Hawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.
“I saw the puck was coming out of the zone and saw someone next to me. I thought he was more tired than I was, and I tried to beat him one-on-one,” Havlat explained. “It’s always fun to score goals, it doesn’t matter when or how. Some goals are more important, but it doesn’t matter who scores the goals; winning matters more.”
In the past few weeks, Havlat's done both; he's currently on a nine-game point streak (4 G, 12 A), and has played a big part in the Hawks’ 6-2-1 record since February 14. The right winger, who missed 47 games due to injury last season, has played in each of the Hawks’ 62 games this year and currently leads the team in points (57).
“He’s been unbelievable,” said Duncan Keith
. “He’s a big part of our offense. I love playing out there with him because he makes everyone around him better. He’s been great for us, and he's got to keep being great for us.”
Not only has Havlat produced, but he’s scored in key situations. During his current points streak, he’s tallied two game-winning goals, and none of his points have been more timely than tonight’s against a tough Anaheim club who is trying to fight its way up the Western Conference standings.
"It was a very important win for us tonight,” Havlat said. “We were up 2-0 and then we stopped playing. By the end, we knew it could go both ways. We’re getting closer to achieving our goal to make the playoffs. It’s not going to get any easier through the regular season.”
To reach that goal, Havlat says that their remaining 12 games in March - nine of which are at home - will be crucial. The Hawks will be facing a lot of team who are desperate to make the top-eight in their conference as they close out the regular season.
“We had a great start at the beginning of the season and we’re trying to keep it going in the second half,” he said. “We’ve got a long stretch of home games, and it’s not going to be easy to keep winning at home. But we want to win in front of our fans; they’ve been great all year, and we want to give something back.”