Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Right And Wrong In The First 3 Games

By Gail Kauchak
Oct 12, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14) reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14) reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 17, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny (26) and Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) fight for a face off during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny (26) and Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) fight for a face off during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Here are some things that haven’t gone well for the Chicago Blackhawks through the first three games. 

Shots on goal.  The Hawks had only 19 shots on goal in their first game.  This was compared to 34 shots for the St. Louis Blues.  In Friday’s game against the Nashville Predators, the shot differential was 24 to 27 for the Preds.  On Saturday, the Hawks managed 27 shots, but this was against 36 shots for the Preds.  The Hawks have managed more shots in each game as they have gone along, and this is a positive sign.  But they are still being outshot by their opponents.

Faceoffs.  The same can be said for faceoffs.  They won only 40% of their draws against the Blues, and then 44% and 48% respectively in their tilts against the Preds.  Again, this is trending upwards, which is good.

Artem Anisimov is especially struggling on the dot.   According to The Athletic’s Scott Powers, he has won only 14 of 41 faceoffs in these three games.  As a result, he’s been taking less draws as each game has gone along.  Perhaps this is part of the reason that his usual linemates, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane, also can’t seem to get much going offensively.

Penalty kill.  Ugh, has the penalty kill looked bad so far!  The Chicago Blackhawks gave up three power play goals in their first game, three in their second game, and one in their third game.  Overall, they’ve let in seven power play goals out of a total of 13.  It’s essential to note that this has also gotten better as the Hawks have gone along.  They only gave up one PP goal in the last game.  Which leads directly to my next point…

Stay out of the box!  The Hawks don’t have to worry about the penalty kill if they don’t commit so may penalties.  They have had a real problem with discipline, especially in the first two games.  And it’s not the kids; it’s the veterans, who should be leading by example.

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In the first game, there was a march to the penalty box by Trevor van Riemsdyk, Jonathan Toews, Anisimov, Duncan Keith, and then TVR again.  In the second game, Brian Campbell, Toews, and Nick Schmaltz (the only rookie to commit an infraction so far) all visited the box in the first period.  In the second period, we were treated to fights that involved Jordin Tootoo (no surprise), and Toews (big surprise), as well as two more penalties by Anisimov.  And then there were the very questionable third period calls on Brent Seabrook for closing his hand on the puck, and Patrick Kane for embellishment.  But either way, the Hawks have to stay out of these situations.

Saturday’s game was better.  Only two penalties, on Tootoo and Anisimov.  Geez, apparently Arty needs to work on more than just his faceoffs!  Penalties are going to happen, but the Hawks definitely need to work on keeping them to a minimum.

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