The Blackhawks were having fun again at the United Center.
After a difficult road trip, the Blackhawks rebounded with a 5-2 victory over the Canucks on Thursday night at the United Center.
Patrick Kane led the way offensively with a goal and two assists while Dylan Strome added three assists and Olli Maatta two helpers. Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, David Kampf and Andrew Shaw also scored for the Blackhawks while Corey Crawford was strong in goal with 36 saves.
"We just need to get some energy - got to have some fun," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said after the game. "These guys - all players - play better when they're happy and they have some joy in their game. We're back at home and everyone's comfortable here and playing … a difficult opponent that has had a very good start. I think they had that energy and the game was easier."
J.T. Miller and Jake Virtanen scored for the Canucks but it wasn't enough as netminder Jacob Markstrom allowed three goals on 35 Blackhawks shots.
"Big win for us, obviously," Colliton said. "Coming home from a long trip and a difficult opponent I think we really liked our start. We got a lot of pucks to the net which was something we had spoken about being an issue and we put some more pressure on their team which I think was needed.
"We had a lot of good performances so certainly we would like to find a way to string two, three, four, five games together," Colliton continued. "That's what we need to get some momentum going. But I think there were a lot of good efforts (Tuesday night) tonight and guys can have a positive feeling."
The Blackhawks improved to 5-7-3 while the Canucks fell to 9-4-3.
In need of a strong start after a road trip during which they went 1-2-1, DeBrincat delivered with a highlight-reel goal that featured the winger rifling a shot past Markstrom while falling to the ice just 6 minutes, 41 seconds into the game.
"I was going to try to go on a breakaway but I started falling, so just I tried to get a puck on net," DeBrincat said. "I think I surprised (Markstrom). Pretty lucky it went in but I guess that's what you get when you shoot the puck."
The Blackhawks made an effort to get more pucks on net after having just 21 - three in the first period - during their 4-2 loss to the Sharks on Tuesday night in San Jose.
"I want to get back to shooting any puck I can," DeBrincat said. "As a team (against) San Jose we didn't have many shots so I think we need to do a better job of getting pucks on net and getting guys to the net and score some dirty ones. They're not always going to be pretty, so we need to do a better job of that."
Almost lost in the barrage of Blackhawks goals, which included empty-netters by Kampf and Saad - was the performance of Crawford, who picked up his second win of the season and first since downing the Oilers on Oct. 14.
Crawford stopped all 17 Canucks shots in the opening period and then thwarted Vancouver's comeback attempt the rest of the way to raise his save percentage from .892 to .901 on the season.
"Excellent," Colliton said of Crawford's effort. "Very under control, played with confidence and that gives our team confidence so (I'm) really happy for him and hopefully he can go on a bit of a run here with multiple solid performances."
Strome said the Blackhawks have confidence in both Crawford and fellow veteran Robin Lehner.
"'Crow' had an unbelievable game," Strome said. "We've got confidence in both those guys. Obviously, Lehner's been amazing all year and when Crow's been in there we haven't given him too much help (but) I think he's been solid as well.
"Going into Pittsburgh (on Saturday night), it's a tough building to play in … but we've got to find a way to get two points," Strome added. "We've got to start stringing some (wins) together. We got a few losses in a row, so the only way to get that back is a bunch of wins in a row. I think we've got the guys in here to do it."
There was frivolity in the Blackhawks dressing room after the game. Kane and Shaw saw next to each other and answered questions from the media as the other teammate. Shaw kicked things off by answering a query directed to Kane about capturing two points.
"It's huge," Shaw answered as Kane. "The boys fought well (Tuesday night) and we stuck together. It's a game we needed, getting things on the right track, working for one another (and) good things happen. We have to continue that as well."
When Shaw was jokingly asked if it was true Kane is a puck hog, it was Kane who responded with, "yeah, he could pass it a little bit more sometimes."
After a pause in the questioning, Kane jokingly said to reporters, "you guys are confused, eh? Got you guys out of your element and you don't know what to do. Going to have to question the way you guys performed (Tuesday night). It seems like you guys are a little bit off."