No, the murmur of boos throughout the United Center on Tuesday night was not some cloying phonetic salute to Nikolai Khabibulin. These were simply boos, outright voicing of displeasure, and they only bled into a cascade of happy cheers when the veteran netminder skated to the bench.
Five days earlier, the Blackhawks' backup goalie was strafed for six goals. Five days later, Khabibulin got back in the mix to erase the bad memories, and instead wound up looking like a guy with post-traumatic stress issues.
Only Jonathan Toews being there for consolation with a third career regular-season hat trick permitted a 6-5 victory over the Senators, with a second straight night of four unanswered scores continuing the good vibes.
"It has been a while, so it felt pretty good," Toews said of the hat trick. "It's an exciting thing, it definitely builds your confidence a little bit and hopefully I can ride that out and keep playing well because of it."
A thorough takedown of the Wild on Monday ...