Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Week Ahead: Central Back-To-Back

By Colin Likas
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Sorry, Chicago Blackhawks fans, that I’m a bit late on this week’s look ahead at the Blackhawks. We have one fewer game to look at this week than we would have if I was on time, as the Blackhawks on Monday defeated the Anaheim Ducks 1-0 in overtime, their second consecutive extra-time win behind a goal from captain Jonathan Toews.

The latest victory pushed Joel Quenneville‘s group to 6-3-0 on the season and gave them a perfect 1-0-0 record against the Western Conference. That’s right: The game against the Ducks was Chicago’s first against an in-conference foe. But the Blackhawks will get a bit more familiar with the West over their next four games, including two this week.

Before we glance at those, let’s get an update on the Blackhawks’ individual stats:

Forwards

Artem Anisimov: 9 games, 3 goals, 1 assist, plus-2 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 13 shots

Kyle Baun: 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-2 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 1 shot

Bryan Bickell: 6 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-2 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 4 shots

Andrew Desjardins: 9 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-3 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 9 shots

Ryan Garbutt: 8 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1 rating, 9 penalty minutes, 18 shots

Vincent Hinostroza: 4 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 4 shots

Marian Hossa: 9 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, minus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 23 shots

Patrick Kane: 9 games, 5 goals, 7 assists, plus-5 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 31 shots

Marcus Kruger: 9 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-3 rating, 8 penalty minutes, 8 shots

Artemi Panarin: 9 games, 2 goals, 6 assists, plus-4 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 19 shots

Andrew Shaw: 9 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1 rating, 10 penalty minutes, 10 shots

Teuvo Teravainen: 9 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, minus-1 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 21 shots

Viktor Tikhonov: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-3 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 8 shots

Jonathan Toews: 9 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, plus-3 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 23 shots

Defensemen

Trevor Daley: 9 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 0 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 11 shots

Niklas Hjalmarsson: 9 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-2 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 10 shots

Duncan Keith: 6 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-2 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 8 shots

David Rundblad: 4 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 7 shots

Brent Seabrook: 9 games, 2 goal, 4 assists, plus-1 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 21 shots

Viktor Svedberg: 8 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, plus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 14 shots

Trevor van Riemsdyk: 9 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, plus-2 rating, 5 penalty minutes, 10 shots

Goaltenders

Corey Crawford: 7 starts, 5 wins, 2 losses, 2 shutouts, .943 save percentage, 1.57 goals-allowed average

Scott Darling: 2 starts, 1 win, 1 loss, 0 shutouts, .906 save percentage, 2.50 goals-allowed average

The first player we need to talk about is Crawford, who posted three more wins and his first two shutouts of the season since my last weekly update. He also improved his save percentage by more than two-tenths of a percentage point, and his goals-allowed average plummeted nearly three-fourths of a goal. We knew Crow would have to step up with Keith sidelined, and the goaltender has certainly done his part. Darling will likely get one of the two starts later this week with the Blackhawks playing back-to-back games.

Also worth notice are Kane, Toews and Seabrook — three pieces of “The Core.” Kane added a goal and four assists in three games since the last update, while Toews got off the goal-scoring schnide with the aforementioned two overtime winners. But Seabs is the real Skater of the Week. While being forced into No. 1 defenseman duty and skating alongside rookie Svedberg, Seabrook posted a goal and four assists while bumping his rating up from a minus-2 to a plus-1. That’s absurd. Seabrook is honestly going to force his way into Norris Trophy consideration if the Blackhawks keep winning and he keeps up this level of play.

Now, on to an updated Central Division glance:

Nashville: 6-1-1, 13 points, 4 regulation wins, 25 goals scored, 16 goal allowed

Dallas: 6-2-0, 12 points, 6 regulation wins, 27 goals scored, 21 goals allowed

Chicago: 6-3-0, 12 points, 6 regulation wins, 19 goals scored, 16 goals allowed

Winnipeg: 5-2-1, 11 points, 5 regulation wins, 28 goals scored, 21 goals allowed

St. Louis: 5-2-1, 11 points, 5 regulation wins, 23 goals, scored, 20 goals allowed

Minnesota: 5-2-1, 11 points, 5 regulation wins, 24 goals scored, 22 goals allowed

Colorado: 2-4-1, 5 points, 2 regulation wins, 19 goals scored, 21 goals allowed

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Holy Moses. Turns out the Central is going to be tough. Again. Who would’ve thunk it?

For points of comparison, the Atlantic Division consists of eight teams and has two in double-digit points. The Metropolitan, also with eight teams, has three in double figures. The Pacific, with seven squads, boasts three in double figures as well. The Central has six of its seven teams with 10 or more points. Six. They should have a separate playoffs for the Central Division … it’d be a blast.

You’ll notice the Preds have the second-fewest regulation wins in the Central, but are atop the division courtesy their overtime/shootout prowess. With Pekka Rinne in net, it isn’t surprising this is the case. While the Blackhawks are on a four-game win streak, everyone else is sort of holding their ground and playing well enough to hang in tough. Except poor Colorado. Wait. Poor Colorado? Isn’t Patrick Roy their coach? Screw those guys.

So, who’s on the docket this week for the Blackhawks? We need to look no further than the teams listed above.

Next: A Glance At Winnipeg And Minnesota

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