Feb 5, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wingPatrick Kane
(88) celebrates with teammates after an empty net goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at HP Pavilion. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks hot start is starting to show signs of the 2009-2010 team. Yes, it’s way to early to start making Stanley Cup parade routes, but the Hawks are winning right where they won their last Stanley Cup……the road.
When the shortened schedule was released the critics would say that the Hawks were going to be hard pressed to get off to a fast start when they had to play 10 out of their first 12 away from the United Center. The Hawks have blown the critics, the fans and maybe even themselves out of the water with a 6-0-2 start on the road. The Toews conditioning drills, Rockford, and oversees play combined with very little roster turnover has been a huge reason for the quick start, but when the Hawks won the Cup they had the second best road record in the NHL with a 23-14-4 record.
Great teams always are able to win away from home and the Hawks have started the season with this type of road swagger. Throw in the fact the Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa are all playing at a high level also helps the Hawks victory totals on the road, but certain other aspects are creating great road teamwork. The penalty kill has been special for the first 10 games which is tremendous resource for road victories. The other factor is everyone is starting to chip in, Andrew Shaw after a slow start has scored twice on the trip, and Brandon Saad finally got his first goal ironically against the Hawks Stanley Cup winner Antti Niemi.
The Hawks were 18-18-5 last season on the road which led to another quick exit from the playoffs, so while the health of Toews and Hossa are big keys to winning, road victories are a bigger guide for Coach Quenneville and the Hawks playoff futures. It’s really early but you have to like the signs so far this season.
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