Blackhawks break DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
For the first time in over a month, the Blackhawks split their first line of Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome.
The decision comes after the Blackhawks lost their sixth in a row (0-4-2) and were shut out for the second time in four games and eighth time this season. The offense dried up outside of that line, and interim head coach Derek King felt it was time to change it.
“I gave in,” King said. “I didn’t want to, but we lost six. It made a little too much noise in my brain, but we decided to mix them up a bit.”
DeBrincat, Kane and Strome were lined up in the third period against Tampa Bay on March 6. Since then, they have been dynamited.
When the three of them have been on the ice together at even strength for the past 14 games, the Blackhawks have outplayed (121-110), passed (112-98) and beaten (16-10) their opponents, according to Natural Stats trick.
When the three of them haven’t been on the ice? The Blackhawks were beaten (259-161), passed (233-126) and outclassed (23-12). A significant difference.
The Blackhawks are looking to balance things out a bit more and that was reflected in the way the front nine looked. Here’s what the line rushes were like in Saturday’s practice:
Aside from the return of Kane and Toews, the most interesting combination was the reunion of the Erie Otters line with DeBrincat, Raddysh and Strome. Maybe all three can recreate the magic they experienced in their OHL days.
“They’re good players,” King said. “They can produce, and maybe that gives us a bit more balance in our scoring. At the moment, with 11 games to go, we have to find different approaches and see what clicks, what doesn’t. We could mix them again in the next game, then we’ll see.”
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