Sports

Blackhawks show glimpses of championship form during strong first part of NHL season

  • Chicago Blackhawks left winger Patrick Sharp (10) and right winger Marian Hossa (81), of the Czech Republic, celebrate a goal by center Jonathan Toews (19) against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The Blackhawks won, 2-0. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Chicago Blackhawks left winger Patrick Sharp (10) and right winger Marian Hossa (81), of the Czech Republic, celebrate a goal by center Jonathan Toews (19) against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The Blackhawks won, 2-0. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chicago Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville shouts instructions to his players, including Marcus Kruger (16), of Sweden, during the second period in an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Friday Feb. 7, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Chicago Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville shouts instructions to his players, including Marcus Kruger (16), of Sweden, during the second period in an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Friday Feb. 7, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (The Associated Press)

The Chicago Blackhawks head into the NHL's Olympic break in prime position to defend their Stanley Cup title.

Now comes the part that really matters.

The Blackhawks (35-11-14) were shut out for the first time this season when they lost 2-0 at Phoenix on Friday night.

But their six-game trip leading up to the break including impressive wins at Los Angeles and Anaheim that helped them move within one point of the NHL-leading Ducks.

"It was really important before getting the two weeks off. You always want to go into the trip with a little momentum and gain some points before you have a long break like that," goaltender Corey Crawford said after the loss to the Coyotes.