The Chicago Blackhawks finally snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 7-1 blowout win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. Six different forwards scored for Chicago in the win, which conveniently came on a night where a season-high 22,066 officially were in attendance at the United Center.
This was the kind of complete effort we haven’t seen from the Blackhawks in a long time. They dominated with a 44-20 advantage in shots on goal, scored on the power play for the seventh time in eight games, and eventually chased Braden Holtby from the game even though his dad is apparently in the crowd.
Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, and Nick Schmaltz scored as part of a first period that gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead. They kept pressing from there with three more goals in the second period from Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman, and Artem Anisimov before the Capitals finally turned to Phillip Grubauer.
Toews finished the game with three points for his most productive effort since late November. The captain had been struggling lately, like much of the team, with just six points in the previous 16 games, so it was nice to see him turn it on, even if his goal was a soft one that Holtby surely wishes he had back.
Kane, Saad, and Vinnie Hinostroza (two assists) also had multi-point games for the Hawks, who had not scored this many goals in a game since early January. Alex DeBrincat scored in the third period once the game was already out of hand.
It was, to say the least, a ton of fun.
The only problem here is that the victory is little more than a moment of positivity in a sea of hopelessness. The Blackhawks’ 2018 playoff odds were 0.6 percent entering tonight, per Hockey-Reference. The Athletic doesn’t include decimals but it pegged their chances at a tidy zero percent.
It was a fun night, and one that was surely welcomed by the thousands in attendance who finally got to watch a fun game, but it’s like trying to use a squirt gun to stop a fire that’s burning down your entire house. This thing is too far gone.
Still, a 7-1 win is a 7-1 win, so let’s cherish it while we can. The Blackhawks will be back at the UC Monday night to host the Los Angeles Kings.