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They’re Stanley Cup Contenders After All

Posted By Anna Santiago On Mar 5 2011 @ 4:08 am In Chicago Blackhawks | No Comments

At the beginning of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t show any signs of being the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2010. But slowly, progressively and with a lot of determination, Toews and team are finally showing the NHL that they are still willing to fight for a shot at the Cup.

Despite winning 8 of the last 10 games, the Blackhawks have not dominated their division as expected defending Cup champs. A trend in the past few games, the Hawks have given up considerable leads in the third, jeopardizing their chances at a win.

Toews opened up the scoring with a wrister minutes into the first period, but was  answered by Canes captain Eric Staal. To combat the trend of lapsing after a lead, the Blackhawks fired back with 4 unanswered goals, by Bickell, Johnson, Bolland and Kane, respectively. Carolina’s celebrated rookie Jeff Skinner claimed the only Canes goal in the third.

With a 5-2 win against Carolina, the Blackhawks sit in 4th in the Western conference, just one point above the floundering Calgary Flames. While 4th may seem like a comfortable seat in the standings, the Western conference is so tight that any one game can determine the playoff fate of the Western teams sitting below the Canucks and the Red Wings.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville credits this victory to the team’s consistency. “It was better,” he said, stating that keeping a firm hold on the lead is the key to getting the 2 points needed to advance in the playoff berth.

With the race in the West extremely tight, consistency is key for the Cup-wielding Hawks, whose captain Jonathan Toews is doing his best to lighten the load on his teammates. Toews has 6 goals in his last 5 games and seems determined to make a nice long run for the Cup in his second season as head of the Hawks.

Next up for the Blackhawks: a matchup against the surging  Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. A regulation win will give the Hawks their 8th straight win and solid spot in the playoffs.

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