It's too bad the United Center was only at 60% capacity Wednesday evening, because the Chicago Blackhawks finally snapped a four game losing streak when they beat the L.A. Kings 6-3 on home ice.
Many Blackhawks fans believed this game was a "must win" simply because of the competition not only in the Central Division, but the Western Conference as a whole. Fall behind too far, and you're likely to get lost below the shuffle. It's exciting to know that the win tonight, put Chicago right back into the middle of the Western Conference pack. Even though L.A. is currently sitting in the basement, they can look forward to Frolov returning soon. There is still a lot of hockey to play, I wouldn't count any team out as of today.
Denis Savard has preached that the Hawks have been working hard, but needed to keep focus. Tonight's attitude and desperation for a win was evident. Not only did the goal scorers come to play, Chicago's defensemen were positionally responsible and jumped into the offense at the right moments. Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves and stopped several key chances for the L.A. Kings. He's still not playing at the top of his game, but he looked much more confident in goal tonight.
This was not an easy game for the Hawks or Kings. Fourteen out of Nineteen penalties were in the first period alone. Out of 19 penalties, 4 were game misconducts. With two fights in the first, this game was hard fought by both respective clubs. The next meeting on December 30th will definitely be interesting to watch.