With 11 games left in the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks are five points out of the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Realistically to have a shot at the postseason, the Hawks would have to go at least 9-2 in their last 11.
That’s a tall task for sure.
Even if the Hawks do not qualify for the postseason, this season has been one of the most entertaining in years, especially from an offensive perspective. The defense is bad. Unfortunately, there’s no way of sugar coating it.
The defense was terrible under Joel Quenneville to start the season as well, so all the people saying it may be Jeremy Colliton‘s system are wrong, for now. The point I’m trying to make here is that even if the Hawks don’t make the playoffs this season still brought a lot of good.
Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat and Brendan Perlini are creating one hell of a second line. All three players are ages 22 and under. That means they could be around for a while. The play and connection between Strome and DeBrincat shouldn’t be that surprising.
The two played together in the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons. Perlini’s recent success is a bit more surprising, however.
Perlini was acquired with Strome from the Coyotes in the Nick Schmaltz trade. His first three months with the Hawks were anything than memorable. Perlini was consistently a healthy scratch and had trouble earning Colliton’s trust.
People may not know that Perlini was the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. The Hawks’ front office did though, and that’s exactly why they wanted Perlini included in the Schmaltz trade. Like Strome, the hope was that a change of scenery would jumpstart Perlini’s career.
That hope may be turning into reality.
After scoring in the Hawks’ win over the Canadiens on Saturday night, Perlini has now scored 8 goals in his last 7 games. It’s been, by far, the best stretch of Perlini’s career.
Coach Colliton thinks the production can continue for Perlini.
“I think it’s up to him,” Colliton said. “We’ve all seen his shot and his skating and his size. What he’s doing is he’s impactful away from the puck. He’s skating, he’s getting himself in position to create turnovers, he’s winning races and he’s very involved. And if that continues, then he will continue to produce.
“If he starts to coast out there and cruise and wait for the puck and rest on defense, then it won’t continue. So it’s up to him. But he’s taken big, big steps here lately, and I hope for our team he plays the same way.”
H/T – Chicago Tribune
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) March 13, 2019
At 6’3″ and 211 pounds, Perlini is no small player. He’s physical enough to be an effective two-way forward but also skilled enough to have the offensive upside that the Hawks have been looking for since Marian Hossa was forced to retire.
Brendan Perlini scores against his former team … pic.twitter.com/9Jbm77vWb0
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) March 12, 2019
Last Monday, Perlini recorded a hat trick against his former team. It was a great moment for him and his family. His dad even got to smoke a nice stogie after it was all said and done.
— VICKI PERLINI (@vickiperlini) March 12, 2019
If his son’s recent play keeps up, Mr. Perlini may need a lot more cigars to smoke.