Blackhawks take momentum into matchup with Devils

The Chicago Blackhawks exploded for a four-goal, third-period rally to stun the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, right around the time the New Jersey Devils' attack was scuffling yet again.

As the teams prepare to meet Monday night in Chicago, the visitors could learn something from the host's resolve.

"We didn't panic and were patient," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We competed and were rewarded with goals and a win. Sometimes it's not always going to happen. We're not always going to get those goals and tie it up like that. That's a start and we can keep building off this."

While the Blackhawks remain in last place in the Central Division, the team enters with wins in three of the past four games, including two straight, as they aim to climb the standings and make a push for a playoff spot.

Another encouraging sign came Saturday night in Denver, as rookie center Kirby Dach snapped a 16-game goal drought with the tying tally against the Avalanche in an eventual 5-3 victory.

"You just kind of keep being you and keep playing," Dach said. "The puck is going to find your stick and go in. It might not be the prettiest goal or the prettiest assist, but eventually you're going to find a way to get off that."

New Jersey hopes to be able to attest -- and soon. Sitting in a distant last place in the Metropolitan Division, the Devils have lost nine of 11, with their latest defeat coming in Saturday's 5-1 blowout loss at Columbus.

A sputtering offense has taken its toll. Since Thanksgiving, the Devils have scored three or fewer goals in all but two games and are near the bottom of the league standings in 5-on-5 shot attempts.

"It's always the same thing," Devils coach Alaine Nasreddine said. "We don't have an attacking mentality enough, passing up shots. ... To score goals in this league, you have to be hungry. You've got to be willing to go through the net. You've got to be able to get to the hard areas. (Saturday) some guys had it and some guys didn't. We just didn't generate enough."

After allowing the first two goals of the game in goaltender Gilles Senn's first NHL start, the Devils responded with a tally from Will Butcher late in the first period before fizzling over the final 40 minutes.

Defenseman Connor Carrick returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his finger in October. Although the Devils don't figure to count on him for heavy scoring, Nasreddine said any reinforcements can't hurt the pursuit to score more.

"Every forward, every (defenseman), they know how to generate," Nasreddine said. "You get the puck on your stick, it's just a mindset. At the same time, you got to work."

--Field Level Media
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