Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at United Center on Friday:
1. Postponing strong at home
Blackhawks may not be in battle anymore, but they have not exactly packed it down the line. With a win on Friday night, Blackhawks expanded their point strike to five games (3-0-2).
They also ended the season with a 19-14-8 record at home after going 18-18-5 last season. They went 4-1-2 in the last seven games at United Center.
"Full barn again," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "Lots of energy. Nice to see us put some pucks in the net and everyone can feel good about themselves. Of course we can have a good feeling tomorrow."
Said Kane: "We must be good at home and I think that is probably not as good as it should have been for the last couple of seasons. But still a treat to play here at United Center and we always feel the fans on the back, try to use it for our benefit next season. "
2. Corey Crawford Injury Scare
With two games left, Blackhawks were expected to give Crawford the start of Friday in front of his hometown fans one last time this season and Cam Ward Saturday in Nashville for his 700th career NHL game. But the circumstances changed.
When Crawford started, Crawford left the game for a second period due to a groin injury that he seemed to suffer from the opening frame and he was trying to save on the record.
̵1; Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) April 6, 2019
Eventually Ward replaced Crawford, who did not return and will not travel to Nashville for the regular season finale. But they do not expect his injury to be serious. Blackhawks will call Goaltender Kevin Lankinen from Rockford IceHogs by the American Hockey League.
3. Personal achievements
It was a well-rounded victory for the Blackhawks and one that highlighted several good milestones.
Let's drive them down:
– With a help, Erik Gustafsson became the sixth defense match this season to reach the 60 point mark. He joined Brent Burns (81), Mark Giordano (74), Morgan Rielly (72), John Carlson (70) and Keith Yandle (61).
– Patrick Kane became the first wing in Blackhawk's history to hit at least 108 points in a single season. Denis Savard did it four times as a center.
– Slater Koekkoek scored his first goal as a member of the Blackhawks.
– Chris Kunitz, who received a polite start in front of his family in Chicago, scored a goal in what could be one of his last games in the NHL. He is the only active player with four Stanley Cups.
– Ward became the fifth active goaltender to enter the 700 game club. He joined Ryan Miller (757), Marc-Andre Fleury (797), Henrik Lundqvist (857) and Roberto Luongo (1,043).
4. The seal stretch continues
Blackhawks fans have been pampered. For nine straight years from 2009-17, their team made playoffs each time, appeared in five conference finals and three Stanley Cups. But they want more and they want more because of where they were before the Kane and Toews era. No one wants to go back to these times.
And despite the lack of the postseason for the second year running, it has not stopped fans from packing the building at night.
For the 11th straight season Blackhawks has led to NHL's participation. Friday marked their 497 consecutive sales, including the playoffs. It's hard to see that ends anytime soon.
A weak gesture by the organization to give back to the fans, the Blackhawks gave their season ticket holders the opportunity to upload a personal photo, which was then put together to create collages that filled the numbers on the players' warming jerseys for the final home game. The jerseys will be signed and then auctioned to charity, with all the proceeds for the benefit of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
"Tonight was great," Kane said. "All year round it has been good, but tonight it was also good. Just the kind of thing that you have to have the presence of mind to whistle at the end and kind of to show thanks for the season, although of course we did not have the season we wanted "What was it close to 22,000 fans again tonight? Not really surprised, but something we don't take for granted here and love to play in front of them."
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