by Ted Cox
"We did the things that make you a better team throughout the game," said coach Joel Quenneville, not normally given to self-help mantras. "We're trending where we have to be a better team, and our team game's improving."
Patrick Kane echoed that, saying the Hawks' approach right now is to "just worry about the next game and try to win as many as you can and see where you end up. I think the biggest thing right now is try to get ourselves better as a team. Try not to worry too much about the standings, because when you look at that it seems it'll change every day. We're not worried about that. Just worried about our team, where we're heading."
Part of that reflects a team that only recently hit rock bottom with a nine-game skid. Three wins in a row since haven't made the Hawks cocky, and goalie Corey Crawford acknowledged the team has been focused to "work on the little things." That produced a win Sunday only because Crawford kept them in the game with a series of sharp saves, before and after giving up a goal in the final minute of the first period. The Hawks finally gained purchase on the Blues in the final period, and dragged them down with three goals. Quenneville credited Crawford in calling it "a goalie win." Yet the win streak also hasn't improved the Hawks' playoff standing at sixth in the Western Conference.
Concentrating on the next game, however, means focusing on the conference-leading Detroit Red Wings, the Hawks' archrival. If the continued emphasis on the little things leads to a win over the Wings at the United Center Tuesday, if could prompt the Hawks to think bigger.