Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: New Jersey Devils, L.A. Kings Matchups Glance

By Gregory Bradshaw
Oct 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates after he scores the game winning goal during a shootout against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen (31)at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates after he scores the game winning goal during a shootout against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen (31)at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks were looking to extinguish the Calgary Flames on Monday night, but ultimately came up short before a much-needed three days off

The Chicago Blackhawks now sit at 3-3-1 early on this season and are certainly looking to build on the recent outburst of offense.

Artem Anisimov has definitely come around this past week, anchoring the ‘Hawks’ second line while bringing his point total to nine on the year, leading the Chicago Blackhawks in that category.

The penalty kill, however? Not so good. The ’Hawks surrendered two powerplay goals to the Calgary Flames, who at the time owned the league’s worst powerplay percentage. Not good, guys.

This is especially true when you take into perspective just how dominant the ’Hawks’ penalty kill had been during the three Stanley Cup runs. Chicago’s PK percentage sits at just above 46 so far this year. Yikes.

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With today the third of three days off, it’s almost like we’re entering a new week. Hopefully, it’s a much improved week as the Blackhawks have some glaring issues with special teams that need a dramatic turnaround.

So let’s take a look at this weekend’s upcoming games, shall we?

On the road again

The Chicago Blackhawks will be visiting a somewhat new-look New Jersey Devils on Friday night, looking to end their two game win streak.

Newly acquired Taylor Hall will surely keep Chicago’s attention as he is off to a fast start in his new home on the East coast. The Devils are certainly looking to build on the recent success driven from young Hall’s impressive offensive numbers. Corey Crawford had better bring his “A” game in net!

Scoring will not come easy for the ‘Hawks as U.S. Olympic goaltender Cory Schneider will almost certainly be in the crease for New Jersey.

Boasting a .936 save percentage and allowing an average of exactly 2 goals a game, Patrick Kane and company will definitely have their hands full as they look to keep the offensive potency coming.

Home sweet home

On Sunday, the ‘Hawks will play host to the Los Angeles Kings (3-3-0) in what has truly become an interesting rivalry throughout the past seven years.

Seemingly every year, the Kings pose a tremendous threat to the Western Conference, and this year is no different. The Kings consist of a wonderful balance of defense and offense year in year out, which means the Blackhawks sure have their work cut out for them.

Last year’s Selke Trophy winner, Anze Kopitar, and reigning Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty will be looking to shut the ‘Hawks down during the two teams’ first meeting of the year.

So get your calendars out, ‘Hawks fans, as this matchup should provide plenty of entertainment, as it has in years past.

The Kings will be playing without injured star goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has been a very familiar face to Chicago over the years. This could definitely be a huge advantage for the Blackhawks.

So what must the ’Hawks do to get four points?

Fire away with shots, hope to score early, don’t take their foot off the gas and lay off the bad penalties!

The penalty kill really can’t get much worse but let’s not test it, please? The ’Hawks’ past couple games have seen two very promising comebacks — one resulting in a shootout win and another in a shootout loss. As fans, we love to see comebacks, but getting a lead and holding a lead will be the key to a highly successful weekend.

Next: Chicago Blackhawks: Breaking Down Haunting Penalty-Killing Problems

Did I mention the penalty kill has been terrible? Okay, enough with special teams. On a more positive note, the Blackhawks did manage to kill their final two penalties of Monday’s loss to Calgary, one being a four-minute double-minor. Let’s just pray that the tides have turned and that it is all uphill from here. Killing penalties and bringing back that confidence will hopefully start a trend in the right direction.

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