After a week’s hiatus, the Chicago Blackhawks weekly preview returns — almost in time for the new year. The Blackhawks rang in 2016 on a high note, winning a relatively unexciting 3-0 game against the Ottawa Senators at the United Center on Sunday. The Blackhawks will continue their Eastern Conference swing through this week before finishing with an in-division foe.
Last week was very good to the Blackhawks as far as earning points. They managed to get healthy against three teams they should beat time in and time out — Arizona, Colorado and Ottawa — and although they didn’t always look good doing so, they got six points out of the week.
Let’s see what that wound up meaning for the Blackhawks’ individual statistics, as well as the Central Division standings.
Artem Anisimov: 40 games, 15 goals, 7 assists, plus-6 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 61 shots
a-Kyle Baun: 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-2 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 1 shot
Bryan Bickell: 20 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-4 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 21 shots
Phillip Danault: 7 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, minus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 13 shots
a-Marko Dano: 13 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 0 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 15 shots
Andrew Desjardins: 35 games, 5 goals, 1 assist, minus-7 rating, 13 penalty minutes, 49 shots
Ryan Garbutt: 34 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, minus-9 rating, 25 penalty minutes, 64 shots
a-Ryan Hartman: 3 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 3 shots
a-Vincent Hinostroza: 4 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 4 shots
Marian Hossa: 35 games, 5 goals, 12 assists, plus-3 rating, 12 penalty minutes, 112 shots
Patrick Kane: 40 games, 23 goals, 34 assists, plus-18 rating, 16 penalty minutes, 141 shots
a-Tanner Kero: 17 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, minus-2 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 26 shots
b-Marcus Kruger: 33 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-5 rating, 20 penalty minutes, 39 shots
Brandon Mashinter: 17 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, minus-2 rating, 14 penalty minutes, 6 shots
Artemi Panarin: 40 games, 11 goals, 23 assists, plus-3 rating, 10 penalty minutes, 94 shots
Dennis Rasmussen: 13 games, 3 goals, 1 assist, plus-2 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 17 shots
Andrew Shaw: 40 games, 6 goals, 9 assists, plus-3 rating, 33 penalty minutes, 69 shots
Teuvo Teravainen: 36 games, 8 goals, 11 assists, plus-5 rating, 8 penalty minutes, 61 shots
c-Viktor Tikhonov: 11 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-4 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 11 shots
Jonathan Toews: 40 games, 13 goals, 12 assists, plus-7 rating, 30 penalty minutes, 91 shots
d-Trevor Daley: 29 games, 0 goals, 6 assists, plus-1 rating, 8 penalty minutes, 43 shots
Erik Gustafsson: 9 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, plus-8 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 9 shots
Niklas Hjalmarsson: 40 games, 1 goal, 9 assists, plus-3 rating, 18 penalty minutes, 51 shots
Duncan Keith: 30 games, 7 goals, 16 assists, plus-3 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 52 shots
Michal Rozsival: 21 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-1 rating, 8 penalty minutes, 20 shots
e-David Rundblad: 9 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-2 rating, 6 penalty minutes, 13 shots
Rob Scuderi: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-2 rating, 0 penalty minutes, 6 shots
Brent Seabrook: 40 games, 6 goals, 19 assists, plus-4 rating, 12 penalty minutes, 84 shots
a-Viktor Svedberg: 15 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, minus-1 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 23 shots
Trevor van Riemsdyk: 40 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, minus-7 rating, 13 penalty minutes, 32 shots
Corey Crawford: 32 starts, 20 wins, 10 losses, 2 OT losses, 6 shutouts, .925 save percentage, 2.24 goals-allowed average
Scott Darling: 8 starts, 3 wins, 3 losses, 2 OT losses, 0 shutouts, .907 save percentage, 2.79 goals-allowed average
(a-demoted to Rockford; b-on long-term injured reserve; c-waived and claimed; d-traded; e-loaned)
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We’re going to start by giving props to a guy who doesn’t get talked about a whole lot in Desjardins. The guy had maybe the best offensive week of his career with four goals across the aforementioned three games. Sure, one was an empty netter and the two against Arizona were of the very dirty variety, but for a third-/fourth-line guy like Desjardins, that’s exactly what you want to see. And it’s especially the case for a Blackhawks team that has had trouble scoring at even strength. As a funny/scary sidenote (pointed out by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus), Desjardins now has the same number of goals this season as Hossa and more than the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf.
Of course, Crow deserves some praise as well. While the Arizona outing was obviously not among his best, he probably saved the team from actually losing a point or both points, as he was consistently under attack. He followed that up with a shutout that he made look relatively easy against the Sens. Crow now leads the league in shutouts with six. Please don’t try telling people those are all because of the Blackhawks’ stellar defense, either. You will be pelted with month-old fruit. As you should be.
Anisimov, Seabrook and Keith also made good impacts on their offensive statistics, while the combination of Teuvo and Danault seems to be bearing early fruit.
Let’s move on to the Central Division standings.
Dallas: 28-9-4, 60 points, 27 regulation/overtime wins, 144 goals for, 107 goals against
Chicago: 23-13-4, 50 points, 22 regulation/overtime wins, 111 goals for, 97 goals against
St. Louis: 23-14-4, 50 points, 21 regulation/overtime wins, 101 goals for, 100 goals against
Minnesota: 20-11-7, 47 points, 20 regulation/overtime wins, 101 goals for, 90 goals against
Nashville: 19-13-7, 45 points, 17 regulation/overtime wins, 103 goals for, 102 goals against
Colorado: 18-18-3, 39 points, 18 regulation/overtime wins, 109 goals for, 110 goals against
Winnipeg: 18-19-2, 38 points, 18 regulation/overtime wins, 104 goals for, 114 goals against
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The Blackhawks picked a nice time to put together another three-game win streak, as they’ve caught the rest of the Central in a rare lull period. All but the Predators have lost at least their last game. That includes the Stars, who have lost three of their last four while giving up some silly goal totals. Among those setbacks was a 6-3 loss to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, proving once again the Stars have no clue how to beat bad teams.
The Blues are in a chill as well, having lost their last two games. After a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Toronto in its last game, St. Louis gets to pick up the Blackhawks’ scraps with a game against Ottawa tonight. Minnesota is hanging around the second-/third-place scene while still having games in hand on the rest of the division, and Nashville is trying to do the same. Colorado and Winnipeg are a hot streak away from making things even messier, though it’s not clear that either team is primed to make such a move right now.
With all of that said, let’s look at the Blackhawks’ three opponents in four games this week.
Next: A Glance At Pittsburgh, Buffalo And Colorado