Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Week Ahead Is Backloaded

By Colin Likas
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The Chicago Blackhawks capped an interesting last week of games by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 at the United Center on Sunday night. It was the Blackhawks’ first week this season with four games, and they played out in an interesting manner.

After beating the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, the Blackhawks grabbed a 5-2 lead after one period against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, but managed to lose that game while getting one point. Then, they had an implosion on the road against the New Jersey Devils on Friday before the win yesterday.

I said in my previous weekly preview post that a 3-0-1 or 3-1-0 record for the week should have been the goal. The Blackhawks went 2-1-1, which is OK, but considering the way the two losses came about, 4-0-0 should really have been expected. That mark actually might have been worse had Corey Crawford and the second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane not dominated against the Oilers. Of course, Crow had a rough outing against St. Louis, and Panarin had been held goal-less for the previous 11 games prior to Sunday’s two-goal showing, so these things tend to even out over time.

As we do every week, we’ll take a look at the Blackhawks’ individual stats before moving on to the Central Division standings and the week ahead for the men in the Indian Head. Stats first, of course.

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Forwards

Artem Anisimov: 15 games, 6 goals, 3 assists, plus-4 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 21 shots

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

Bryan Bickell: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-3 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 5 shots

Marko Dano: 4 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, plus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 4 shots

Andrew Desjardins: 15 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-7 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 16 shots

Ryan Garbutt: 13 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-5 rating, 15 penalty minutes, 31 shots

Ryan Hartman: 3 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 3 shots

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

Marian Hossa: 12 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, minus-4 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 33 shots

Patrick Kane: 15 games, 10 goals, 13 assists, plus-11 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 56 shots

Tanner Kero: 6 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 0 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 11 shots

Marcus Kruger: 15 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-7 rating, 12 penalty minutes, 13 shots

Artemi Panarin: 15 games, 4 goals, 11 assists, plus-4 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 38 shots

Andrew Shaw: 15 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, minus-2 rating, 10 penalty minutes, 22 shots

Teuvo Teravainen: 14 games, 4 goals, 3 assists, plus-3 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 29 shots

Viktor Tikhonov: 10 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-4 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 11 shots

Jonathan Toews: 15 games, 5 goals, 4 assists, plus-1 rating, 15 penalty minutes, 34 shots

Defensemen

Trevor Daley: 15 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, plus-1 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 24 shots

Erik Gustafsson: 5 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, plus-4 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 7 shots

Niklas Hjalmarsson: 15 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-6 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 18 shots

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

David Rundblad: 5 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-2 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 8 shots

Brent Seabrook: 15 games, 4 goals, 8 assists, plus-2 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 37 shots

Viktor Svedberg: 14 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 0 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 23 shots

Trevor van Riemsdyk: 15 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, minus-4 rating, 5 penalty minutes, 17 shots

Goaltenders

Corey Crawford: 12 starts, 7 wins, 4 losses, 1 OT loss, 2 shutouts, .920 save percentage, 2.38 goals-allowed average

Scott Darling: 3 starts, 1 win, 2 losses, 0 OT losses, 0 shutouts, .885 save percentage, 3.11 goals-allowed average

An odd week for the stats update, as players’ stats either took a nice jump or a nasty hit. Despite the obvious realization that Kruger, Desjardins and Hjalmarsson are deployed primarily in defensive situations, their plus/minus numbers are pretty ugly. The fourth line has struggled to produce anything offensively, though it isn’t for a lack of trying. And Hjammer managed to hit a post with a shot on Cam Talbot last night.

Meanwhile, the second line along with Seabrook saw positive gains offensively. Kane’s numbers are not befitting someone who had the type of offseason he did, and Panarin has been the secondary beneficiary. Seabrook, meanwhile, has really taken to being the offensive sparkplug from the blue line with Keith on the shelf.

Of course, team defense was a struggle over the last four games, and Crawford’s numbers suffered because of it, as well as because of his own woes in stopping the puck Wednesday and Friday. The 2.38 is a number we’ll want to see go down, but the .920 save percentage is still entirely serviceable through 12 games. With such a small sample size the basis for these numbers, they will improve sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, Darling only played as the backup in the New Jersey debacle, but he’s likely to get a start late this weekend as the Blackhawks go through a back-to-back.

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On to the Central Division glance.

Dallas: 12-3-0, 24 points, 12 regulation/overtime wins, 54 goals for, 39 goals against

St. Louis: 10-3-1, 21 points, 10 regulation/overtime wins, 40 goals for, 31 goals against

Minnesota: 8-3-2, 18 points, 8 regulation/overtime wins, 38 goals for, 35 goals against

Nashville: 8-3-2, 18 points, 6 regulation/overtime wins, 35 goals for, 31 goals against

Winnipeg: 8-5-2, 18 points, 8 regulation/overtime wins, 42 goals for, 41 goals against

Chicago: 8-6-1, 17 points, 8 regulation/overtime wins, 39 goals for, 38 goals against

Colorado: 4-9-1, 9 points, 4 regulation/overtime wins, 36 goals for, 42 goals against

If not for Montreal’s ridiculous start, the talk of the league would be the Stars. It still is to some extent, as the team’s offense is on a tear thus far. That’s been led in a big way by the Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp trio (nice job with that Seguin trade because he wasn’t tough enough, Boston). The Blues are also impressive, especially considering they’re going through a mini 2014-15 Columbus scenario with injuries.

The Wild, Predators, Jets and Blackhawks are all within striking distance of those top two, however. They all boast very similar starts as well, though it’s fair to note the Blackhawks’ abysmal road record is dragging them down to this part of the standings. Even the lowly Avalanche have a better road record than the Blackhawks (2-4-0 vs. 1-5-0).

Silver lining: The Tampa Bay Lightning, who the Blackhawks faced in the most-recent Stanley Cup Final, are off to a worse start than the Blackhawks (7-7-2 vs. 8-6-1) and had their whole team returning. It’s too early to panic, folks.

Our look at the Blackhawks’ week ahead is next. Prepare yourselves.

Next: A Glance At New Jersey, St. Louis And Calgary

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