Hawks' depth mirroring '10 team

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
10:07
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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TORONTO -- You’ll have to pardon anyone who makes comparisons to last year’s Chicago Blackhawks championship team. Yes, this is a different roster, going about it in a different way, but after their eighth win in a row, 5-3 over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, it sure is starting to feel like a season ago.

“The more wins you get the more confidence as a team we’ve gotten,” Duncan Keith said. “We know going into games we have an expectation to win and get the two points. Its shows in the way we start games.”

Was that a quote pulled from November of 2009, when the Hawks also had a season high eight game streak or did that come from Saturday’s game after the Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead before 20 minutes was complete?

He said it after Saturday’s contest but you get the point. So much was made of the Hawks' depth a season ago, it’s starting to show in this team. It was yet another night where contributions came from more than the stars. Each line had at least a goal. All five tallies were scored even strength. That’s balance.

“We have four lines rolling right now and we’re spreading the ice time out better which helps them [the stars] out a lot and its keeping them fresher,” Viktor Stalberg said.

No forward played as much as 20 minutes and none played less than eight.

Stalberg scored a goal after a hard working shift with Ryan Johnson and Tomas Kopecky. He is epitomizing the idea of players accepting roles -- a lot like last year.

“We’ve been getting rewarded a lot lately,” Stalberg said of his line. “We’ve been getting about one goal a game in the last little stretch. It feels good and a as group we’re playing pretty well.”

Talk about a coach’s dream? Joel Quenneville doesn’t have to do much thinking when it comes to rolling his lines. They’re all playing well and producing.

“We put ourselves in a real good spot,” he said. “We liked the four lines and everyone contributing. Five in seven days was a good test for us. We’re happy with the win and excited about going to Florida.”

A day or two on the beach is much deserved. You won’t find many teams sweep a five-in-seven stretch including three sets of back-to- backs mixed in among the eight overall.

“Guys were excited to play here,” Toews said. “We wanted to keep the momentum going we’ve built this week.”

Mission accomplished. The beat (and win streak) goes on.


Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
32 15 17 8
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 15
AssistsP. Kane 17
+/-K. Versteeg 15
GAAC. Crawford 1.87