Richards finding comfort zone with Hawks
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Brad Richards enjoyed his return to the Eastern Conference, scoring his first two goals of the season and adding an assist in the three games in eastern Canada over the past week.
Richards, who has bounced between the second and third lines in that span, said he’s still adjusting to the Blackhawks’ system and still finding his footing. But he’s getting closer to his comfort zone. He redirected a Patrick Sharp shot for a goal Tuesday night in a 5-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
“I’m not going to anoint myself [and say] that everything is flowing yet,” he said. “It’s still a work in progress, but it’s always nice. When you score and contribute and help the team and go home with a win, you always sleep better at night.”
For all the hand-wringing about the Hawks’ lack of goals this season, they’re still 7-5-1. That’s largely because they’re giving up a league-best 1.77 goals per game. Through 13 games, the Hawks have yielded just 16 goals against in 5-on-5 play.
“I think we’re just focusing on it a little more this year,” Patrick Kane said. “That’s the way we want to play, is to have that check-first mentality and create a little bit more offense off how good our defense is.”
Corey Crawford, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling have played a role in that, too. Crawford has a .938 save percentage in seven starts, with a 1.53 goals-against average — best among No. 1 starters in the league.
200 and counting
Jonathan Toews scored the 200th goal of his career on Tuesday, and added his 250th assist.
“It’s nice,” he said. “Someone mentioned it to me the other day that it was sneaking up there; other than that I didn’t really have a clue. I guess it’s nice to have had the career I’ve had so far. I’ve been a part of a great team and hopefully it’s the first step in a long journey. Let’s see where it goes.”