Just like that, the Blackhawks are rolling once again.
On Thursday night, Chicago snapped a three-game losing skid against one of the hottest teams in the league this season with a 4-3 overtime win in Boston, and on Friday night they followed it up with a 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.
"Good finish to the trip obviously…" head coach Jeremy Colliton said after the game Friday. "To me, we gave ourselves a chance to win the game by our habits away from the puck. It's kind of a continuation of yesterday where we were very professional, I thought, in our approach and that allowed our guys to come through in the end, so obviously great to get four out of four (points)."
"It's important to try and climb back up in the standings. We had a few tough games," said Corey Crawford, who became just the third Blackhawks goalie all-time to hit 250 wins in the victory. "Seems like it's been pretty streaky the first quarter of the season, but when we're playing well we're pretty tough to beat. We've just got to try and find that game as much as possible."
Here are three takeaways from the win to cap a four-point trip:
MOM KNOWS BEST
Coming into the East Coast swing, things were appearing to head South as Chicago found itself winless in three straight while being outscored 16-5 in those contests. Injuries were mounting as Duncan Keith (groin), Robin Lehner (flu-like symptoms), Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) and Dylan Strome (concussion protocol) had all missed time, and Olli Maatta was beginning to suffer from flu-like symptoms that held him from both games.
The Blackhawks couldn't have planned better timing for the annual parents trip - this year it was the moms' turn - to bring some mojo back into the group and take the pressure off the situation at hand.
"I'm sure they're going to pitch that, no question," Colliton said with a laugh when asked if the moms were now going to be on every trip. "It was great for our team. Obviously we weren't playing well in the stretch before and it's tough not to be in a good mood around your mom ... As soon as the moms joined us I think it lifted the morale in the team and it showed on the ice."
"Seems like that'd be a good idea," Alex DeBrincat added. "It's fun for them, fun for us to have them here and luckily we got two wins for them."
With four points in-hand and confidence re-gained as Chicago heads home, the Blackhawks will look to carry their re-found momentum back to the United Center on Sunday as the Arizona Coyotes come to town - perhaps with a few moms turning the trip into an extended weekend in Chicago for good measure.
Following a 12-game goal-less drought - the second longest of his career behind a 13-game blanking in the Spring of his rookie season - DeBrincat scored his second in as many nights on Friday, cleaning up a Patrick Kane shot on the man advantage in the middle frame.
"It kind of bounced out to me, got a little backhander on it," DeBrincat said. "Just trying to put it to the net and it went in. Sometimes those go in, sometimes they don't, so just keep working hard and hopefully get the chance to put it in."
The third-year forward had obviously grown frustrated with his scoring woes - even dropping the gloves last weekend in Colorado shortly after missing a scoring chance - but with goals in two straight for the first time all year and a team-high six shots on goal in Friday's win, the hope is DeBrincat can go on a run with his current form.
"He had a few other chances (tonight) too," Colliton said. "The chances were there (during his drought), it just wasn't going in for him and he's the type of player that can go on a run, so it would be great for our team if he did. The important thing that I want to see is him continue to play well away from the puck and generate chances. I thought that line was really good again tonight."
"I feel like any time you're around the net and you've got a good chance, it's got a good chance to go in," DeBrincat said. "If I can find those areas a little bit more, hopefully (I can) bang some home."
For months coming into the 2019 NHL Draft, the hockey world knew it would be Jack Hughes' name called first and Kaapo Kakko shortly thereafter. The Blackhawks shocked most, though, by taking Kirby Dach at No. 3 overall. But all along, Dach was the guy for Chicago.
"He wants to be the best player," Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman said after taking Dach in June. "He wants to be the best player in the game and he's driven to do it."
So far this season, it's only those three names from this year's draft class who have played regular NHL minutes. And, so far, they're nearly identical - each scoring between 0.45 and 0.48 points per game coming into the night (Dach: 22 GP, 10 PTS; Hughes: 24 GP, 10 PTS; Kakko: 25 GP, 12 PTS)
On Friday night, Hughes and Dach met for the first time in what their respective franchises hope are lengthy NHL careers. The 18-year-olds shared the ice for a few shifts during regulation and Dach had four shots to Hughes' three, but it was the fifth and final round of the shootout that served as the inaugural matchup's defining moment.
Dach went first, faking left and beating MacKenzie Blackwood on the glove side. Hughes went next with the game on his stick, but was denied by Crawford in a blocker-side attempt.
"It's pretty special. You're hearing all the boos and stuff. It's a little nerve-wracking, but once I picked up the puck that all went away and it was just me and the goalie," Dach said of his first NHL shootout attempt. "I knew I had to score to put some pressure on them and we ended up getting the win. Crow made a nice save at the end there, so that was good."
"He wants the ball, he wants to go," Colliton said of the decision to send Dach fifth, one that wasn't scripted ahead of time. "Those are the type of guys you want to use in those situations because they want to be in that spot and they're confident and typically that's what you need to score. He came through for the team, that was big."