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THREE THINGS: Fast Start, Off the Schneid and Well-Rounded

Three takeaways from Chicago's 8-4 win over Calgary on Saturday night in Alberta

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks went into Calgary in a nearly must-win situation after dropping the opening three games of their current five-game road trip to important Western Conference foes. 

The goals came earl and often as Alex Nylander struck twice and Jonathan Toews, Dominik Kubalik, Brandon Saad, Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Kirby Dach all scored a goal before the night's end. Robin Lehner came up big when called upon in the third period, stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced in the final frame to seal the victory in Alberta.

"Big win for us. A very important win," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I thought we did a lot of things well. As usual, it's never perfect but I thought the compete level was really good, obviously we got some big goals - started the game with a big goal, gave us momentum and nice to see the guys get rewarded. We needed that win and hopefully we can build off of it now."

Video: Blackhawks score eight goals in win against Flames

Here are three takeaways from the win over Calgary:


FAST STARTS

For the second time in the last three games the top line has started for the Blackhawks on their current road trip, they scored the game's opening goal just seconds into the contest.

Last Sunday in Winnipeg, it was Kubalik putting home a Toews feed just 15 seconds in and on Saturday in Calgary, it was Toews on a partial breakaway beating David Rittich glove-side for a 1-0 lead just a half-minute in. 

"Yeah, nice little chip by (Slater Koekkoek) there. I knew I had some time and space, looked over and saw I almost had a breakaway, so just tried to go low glove there," Toews said during the first intermission. "Nice way to start the game and get on the board like that, it's a pretty good feeling."

It's the fifth time this season that the Blackhawks have scored in the opening minute of the game, tying the league lead held by Colorado, Nashville and Pittsburgh. Of the five goals, Toews has scored two of them and assisted on another as the leading man from the opening puck drop.

"Pretty similar to the start we wanted to have against Vancouver," he said of the tone early on Saturday. "I think the effort was there. A couple mistakes defensively ... but other than that pretty solid."

Video: CHI@CGY: Toews buries wrist shot on the rush


ALEX OFF THE SCHNEID 

Among the seven goal scorers on the night, two forwards snapped goalless droughts and were breathing a little easier after the final whistle in Alberta. 

Coming into the night, Alex DeBrincat had just one goal in his last nine contests and his 13 goals in total prior to Saturday are sharp drop off from his 41 tallies a year ago. Alex Nylander's stretch was even greater with just one goal in his previous 17 outings dating back to Dec. 21. 

Both Alexs found the net in Calgary, with Nylander striking twice in the victory. 

"You always want to score every game and help the team win," Nylander said. "Finally it's come, we've had a lot of chances and it's finally getting the bounces in. Happy and we just need to build off of this because we have really important games the rest of the season."

"I've been fighting the puck a little bit," DeBrincat said after the game. "Even today I didn't play that well, but finally got rewarded. It feels good and hopefully I can build on this. It's obviously a big win for us to get the two points."

If the duo can continue to find ways to contribute on the scoresheet, it will be important depth scoring heading into the final 24 games.

"For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy. It gives you a lift," Toews said. "It's nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in. I think even if you're just on the ice and you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals has an effect, so it's nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it's incentive to keep doing the same thing."

Video: Offense explodes in win over CGY


WELL-ROUNDED

In Chicago's highest-scoring game of the season, Colliton got contributions from all four of his offensive lines on the night, each finding the net twice. 

The first line saw goals from Toews and Kubalik, the second from Saad and Kane (an empty-netter), while DeBrincat and Dach struck for the third trio and Nylander's double led the fourth line. 

"The other night, all four lines contributed and the pucks didn't go in for us and it's nice to see all four lines get in on the offense tonight. I think it helps everyone's confidence. We'll stick with playing the right way and doing the things that we know we have to do and play with energy and we can get some offense from all over the lineup."

"We need everybody now in these next games because they're huge for our playoff push here," Nylander said. "We have to get up there in a playoff spot and we need everybody. It's good that we're all getting confident now and we need to bring it every game."

Even more telling, twice in Calgary, the head man put the fourth line out right after a goal for, only to have the bottom trio strike again in quick succession. 

Immediately following Saad's tally early in the second, Nylander picked the pocket of a Flames D-to-D pass and struck on an abbreviated breakaway for a 4-2 lead just 64 seconds later. Then later in the frame, Nylander needed just 27 seconds to convert following DeBrincat's goal, taking a 6-3 lead into the room after 40 minutes. 

"I thought particularly the Kampf line with Highmore and Nylander, they were really hunting on the forecheck and doing a lot of good things away from it," Colliton said. "(It's) nice to see them get rewarded. And obviously the finishing was important."

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