Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Month In Review: November

By Gail Kauchak
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Nov 20, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) celebrates goal by Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (not pictured) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Defense.  In October, the Chicago Blackhawks were without their top defenseman Duncan Keith.  Well, thank goodness, on November 14th he returned to play against the St. Louis Blues.  In 8 games since his surgery, he has 4 goals and 4 assists.  In his 6 games prior to surgery, he only had 2 assists.

Brent Seabrook is helping out on the offensive end as well.  In October, he was third on the team in scoring, and he still holds that honor in November.  He currently has 5 goals and 14 assists, for 19 points.

Not only did Keith grace the lineup, but Michal Rozsival also returned on the very same night.  With these two back, they have established regular defensive pairings.

Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson compose the top pairing.  With opponents having to concentrate on Keith, Hjalmarsson now has more shooting lanes.  He took advantage of this last Saturday night, and tallied his first goal of the season.

Seabrook and Trevor van Riemsdyk make up the Hawk’s second defensive pairing.  On the recent Circus Trip, TVR was exposed on the road against some strong first and second line offensive matchups.   He struggled a bit, but hopefully he can learn and grow from his mistakes.

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Finally, Rozsival and Trevor Daley round out the third defensive pairing.  We all were a little pessimistic about this pairing from the get-go.  But they have held their own.  Rozy has been reliable on the back end, and Daley has been free to try to contribute offensively.  He has 5 assists, and probably 1000 shots off the goalpost.  He appears to be snake bitten when it comes to that elusive first goal of the season.

Goaltender Corey Crawford started in 10 of 13 games this month.  But if you recall, he was pulled after the first period against the New Jersey Devils after allowing 3 goals.  So he is credited with 6 wins and 3 losses.  He’s looked really solid at times, and abysmal at other times.  With the exception of the Vancouver Canucks game (6-3 drubbing), his numbers have picked up since having Keith and Rozy have been back.  He currently holds a .912 save percent average and a 2.54 goals against average.  I’m looking for a little bit more reliability from Crow in December.

Backup Scott Darling currently sports a .913 save percent average, and 2.58 goals against.  He filled in for 4 games this month, winning 2 and losing 2.  But again, one of those losses was in relief against the Devils, where he only allowed 1 goal in 2 periods.  His other games included two contests against the Calgary Flames, where he also only allowed 1 goal each time.  Lastly, he suited up in the Hawk’s most recent tilt against the LA Kings.  A horrible Seabrook turnover led to one goal, and another goal was given up in 3-on-3 overtime.  Considering these circumstances, I’d say Darls is doing alright.

Special Teams.  Here’s a crazy stat for you.  The Chicago Blackhawks are currently 5th in the league on the power play!  They have converted 17 times out of 79 tries, for 21.5 %.  The leader is the Boston Bruins, who have converted 22 of 68 tries, for 32.4 %.  In October, the Hawks ranked 15th in this category.  So there you have it!  Your leader in this department?  You guessed it.  Kane has 4 power play goals to his name in the month of November.  Anisimov, Toews, and Hossa each have 1 PP goal.

The bad news is that the Hawks have fallen in their penalty kill ranking.  In October they were 11th in the league, but they currently stand at 16th in the league.  Out of 66 penalty kills, the Hawks have allowed goals 13 times (80.3%).  I’m just going to chalk this up to some bad luck and a small sample size.  The Chicago Blackhawks have an excellent penalty kill, with a reliable new member in Kero.  I predict they’ll be up in the rankings again this time next month.

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