One key to playing a dozen games without a regulation defeat: spare change.
Coach Joel Quenneville never has hesitated to play mad scientist with his lines in search of a jolt for his Blackhawks teams. But injury exceptions aside, there had been few alterations to those combinations entering Tuesday, establishing high-level rhythm and consistency.
"Sometimes it's good to play with different guys and keep it fresh, which is something (Quenneville) has always done," winger Patrick Kane said. "I don't think guys have had a problem with it.
"It is nice to get a chemistry with your line, and when you're winning games, it's kind of tough to change it up."
Quenneville's belief that all four lines can match up against any opposing line limits the urgency to change. And shelving the juggling act allows forwards to remain aggressive.
"It's confidence," winger Bryan Bickell said. "I was one of those guys, if we lost, I could have been out of the lineup. But our line and our team have big-time confidence right now. It's helping us to come back in games and know we can do it."
Powered down: The only nagging issue for the Hawks was a 2-for-23 showing on the power play during their six-game road swing, including zero man-advantage goals in five of the six outings.
"Our power play didn't look like it had a good trip, but every game, we were pleased," Quenneville said. "We like the in-game momentum that it was sustaining or creating. … It didn't slow us down in a game, which is how we like to measure it."
On the mend: Daniel Carcillo, out since the Jan. 19 opener with a lower-body injury, skated early Tuesday and could return to practice this week. Figuring out where a former first-line forward fits is no worry.
"We love those kinds of decisions," Quenneville said. "We welcome tough ones."
Defenseman Steve Montador (concussion) also skated early Tuesday.
Hawks playing it straight with lines
Chicago Tribune | Feb 13