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Blackhawks seek fifth straight win while Kraken plummet

Sportsnaut
Jan 15, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) scores a goal on Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal (1) during the third period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) scores a goal on Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal (1) during the third period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Running their winning streak to a season-best five games is the carrot for the Chicago Blackhawks when they hit the road to face the struggling Seattle Kraken on Monday.

It has been quite the turnaround for the Blackhawks, who just over a week ago held a postgame, closed-door meeting after a 6-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes stretched their losing skid to six outings.

“This is where you kind of get to know your team a little better, when they do close that door and they have a chat and powwow,” interim coach Derek King said. “We know what’s going on, but we don’t know what’s being said. The fact they acknowledged something had to be said or done about it, that’s great. That means they’re a team, and supporting each other to go on a winning streak here is a bonus.”

The Blackhawks hit the road after earning a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, and admittedly are a long way from that squad that lost to the league’s cellar-dwellers in Arizona.

“After that game, something sort of clicked for us,” said defenseman Riley Stillman, who is enjoying a career-best five-game point-scoring streak.

Stillman isn’t alone in boasting personal success. Forward Patrick Kane is riding a seven-game point streak in which he’s collected nine points, while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 70th career shutout against the Ducks, becoming the 14th goalie in league history to reach that standard.

Meanwhile, the Kraken are on the other end of the spectrum. After kicking off a six-game homestand with a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, the expansion squad has lost nine straight games (0-8-1) and dropped 12 of 13 outings.

Everybody knew the potential for rough patches existed for the Kraken, but that doesn’t take away the sting of a losing skid.

“You want to see the guys have success,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “And obviously at the end of the day we need to win hockey games. Frustration isn’t a part of it for me. I see the areas where we can get a little bit more out of our group. We can give a little bit more. And until things turn and offense starts to come easier, we’re going to have to give a little bit more.”

During their nine-game swoon, the Kraken have been outscored 37-19.

“We’re working hard but we’ve got to get a little extra and find ways to win,” forward Marcus Johansson said.

As if their losing skid isn’t bad enough, goaltender Chris Driedger was placed in COVID-19 protocol on Sunday. Driedger, who started each of the last two games and surrendered two goals in each of them, is the lone Seattle player in protocol.

Seattle will likely turn to Philipp Grubauer — who has looked nothing like the Vezina Trophy finalist from last season while with the Colorado Avalanche — but will summon Antoine Bibeau from the American Hockey League.

–Field Level Media