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Chicago Blackhawks’ Week Ahead Hits December

By Colin Likas
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November’s slate of games came to an end for the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, as the Blackhawks fell 3-2 in overtime at Los Angeles. That game also concluded the annual circus road trip, with the Blackhawks managing a 3-1-2 mark for eight of 12 possible points. Certainly not a bad result, especially with the team not playing up to its total potential, and with Joel Quenneville still struggling to find four lines that click on both ends of the ice.

So we move on to December’s games, beginning with tomorrow’s tilt against the division rival Minnesota Wild. That’ll be the first of three games for the Blackhawks this week, and it also kicks off a bit more divisional action for the men in the Indian Head moving forward. Out of 15 games for the Blackhawks in the month of December, eight will feature a Central Division opponent. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Blues aren’t among those foes this time.

But we’re jumping a little ahead of ourselves, as we have to worry first about the three games at hand this week, including two against Central foes. Before we break down those opponents, let’s get to our weekly stats and standings updates.

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Forwards

Artem Anisimov: 24 games, 10 goals, 6 assists, plus-5 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 36 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: 11 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 0 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 10 shots

Andrew Desjardins: 21 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, minus-8 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 23 shots

Ryan Garbutt: 21 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, minus-3 rating, 21 penalty minutes, 42 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: 21 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, minus-1 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 62 shots

Patrick Kane: 24 games, 14 goals, 23 assists, plus-12 rating, 12 penalty minutes, 88 shots

Tanner Kero: 14 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, minus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 23 shots

Marcus Kruger: 24 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-6 rating, 16 penalty minutes, 26 shots

Artemi Panarin: 24 games, 7 goals, 16 assists, plus-4 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 59 shots

Andrew Shaw: 24 games, 3 goals, 4 assists, plus-1 rating, 14 penalty minutes, 34 shots

Teuvo Teravainen: 20 games, 4 goals, 5 assists, plus-2 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 35 shots

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

Jonathan Toews: 24 games, 8 goals, 7 assists, plus-5 rating, 28 penalty minutes, 57 shots

Defensemen

Trevor Daley: 24 games, 0 goals, 5 assists, 0 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 35 shots

Erik Gustafsson: 6 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, plus-5 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 8 shots

Niklas Hjalmarsson: 24 games, 1 goal, 5 assists, minus-1 rating, 12 penalty minutes, 29 shots

Duncan Keith: 14 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, plus-2 rating, 4 penalty minutes, 21 shots

Michal Rozsival: 8 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-3 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 6 shots

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

Brent Seabrook: 24 games, 5 goals, 14 assists, plus-3 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 49 shots

Viktor Svedberg: 15 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, minus-1 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 23 shots

Trevor van Riemsdyk: 24 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, minus-5 rating, 7 penalty minutes, 26 shots

Goaltenders

Corey Crawford: 18 starts, 11 wins, 6 losses, 1 OT loss, 2 shutouts, .912 save percentage, 2.54 goals-allowed average

Scott Darling: 6 starts, 2 wins, 2 losses, 2 OT losses, 0 shutouts, .913 save percentage, 2.58 goals-allowed average

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Last week was a good one offensively for the blueliners. Hjalmarsson collected his first goal of the season, banging a shot off the post and in behind Jonathan Quick on Saturday. Keith doubled both his goal and assist totals in just three games, continuing his fine play after coming back from knee surgery. And Seabrook recorded a goal and three assists last week, with one of the helpers leading directly to Anisimov’s game-winner against Anaheim.

As for the forwards, it’s still (obviously) the Kane Show. He set a new league record for most consecutive games with a point among American-born players at 19 with his two-point night against L.A. Nice to see, too, was Desjardins collecting his first goal of the season. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot to say. With the line blender reaching warp speed at points last week, it’s not surprising guys are having trouble finding offensive flow. Hopefully Q is able to settle on some lines this week, but it wouldn’t be shocking for the mixing and matching to continue.

Crawford picked up two wins in net last week, while Darling was the tough-luck overtime loser in Los Angeles. Both saw little change in their stats, but both had some outstanding moments that kept their team in the games they started. I’m sure they’d both appreciate a little more defensive help in front.

On to the Central Division standings.

Dallas: 19-5-0, 38 points, 18 regulation/overtime wins, 85 goals for, 62 goals against

St. Louis: 15-6-3, 33 points, 14 regulation/overtime wins, 65 goals for, 58 goals against

Chicago: 13-8-3, 29 points, 13 regulation/overtime wins, 67 goals for, 62 goals against

Nashville: 12-7-4, 28 points, 10 regulation/overtime wins, 59 goals for, 60 goals against

Minnesota: 11-7-4, 26 points, 11 regulation/overtime wins, 63 goals for, 61 goals against

Winnipeg: 11-12-2, 24 points, 11 regulation/overtime wins, 67 goals for, 80 goals against

Colorado: 9-13-1, 19 points, 9 regulation/overtime wins, 68 goals for, 70 goals against

For the first time all season, the Central doesn’t look like so much of a powerhouse. The Predators and Wild both had a rough week, with the former going 1-2-1 and the latter going 0-2-1 since our last update. Nashville in particular is an interesting case, as the defense that was often a hallmark of their success under former coach Barry Trotz has taken a dive of late, and the more aggressive offensive style that worked so well for first-year leader Peter Laviolette last season isn’t compensating.

The Stars continue to blow through most of their competition, while the Blues are hanging around very quietly. They did get Paul Stastny back last week, which is a solid boost down the middle. Winnipeg continues to struggle, especially in the netminding department. The Jets’ 80 goals allowed is the second-highest total in the league behind Calgary’s 87. And Colorado … is still Colorado.

One of the previous two teams I discussed will travel to the United Center this week as well. Let’s look at the Blackhawks’ schedule for this week.

Next: A Glance At Minnesota, Ottawa And Winnipeg

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