Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Who’s Hot And Not: Darling Heats As Starter

By Sean Fitzgerald
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp (not pictured) scores a goal past Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) during the third period at the United Center. Winnipeg won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp (not pictured) scores a goal past Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) during the third period at the United Center. Winnipeg won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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chicago blackhawks
Nov 25, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) leaps over Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (42) after passing the puck during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s a goaltender and Marian Hossa leading the way in this week’s Chicago Blackhawks hot and not

The Chicago Blackhawks avoided a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks had dropped their last two games to the Winnipeg Jets (2-1) and Philadelphia Flyers (3-1).

It looks as if the Blackhawks might have been reeling a bit as after losing two straight and their starting goalie Corey Crawford for several weeks. To make matters worse, reports indicate that Jonathan Toews‘ back is not getting any better and he is still out indefinitely.

Everything is rain clouds and doom. But the Blackhawks have had some shining stars during this little rough patch. So who or what is contributing to the Blackhawks’ current form? Let’s take a look at the good and the bad and see who’s hot and who’s not with the Blackhawks.

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Who’s hot

With the Blackhawks struggling as of late, one might speculate that it would be hard to find players playing well during the mini-losing streak. However, that is not the case.

Their are several players who have played well in two losing efforts and continued to play well as the Blackhawks turned it around on Tuesday night. With Toews and Crawford out, certain players had to step up to fill the void.

Scott Darling

On Saturday morning in Philadelphia, the Blackhawks announced Crawford needed have an emergency appendectomy and Scott Darling would be their starter in his absence.  In his first start, he stopped 27 of 30 shots with a .900 save percentage and lost. Darling was not given a fair shake in this game as the Blackhawks as a team did not come to play.

In his second start against the Winnipeg Jets, Darling was downright filthily. He was clearly the best player on the ice, turning away several breakaway chance. Sadly, Darling took the loss again after giving up 2 goals on 32 shots. His save percentage was .938.

Darling finally got rewarded for his efforts his third start since Crawford’s absence. Darling saved all 22 shots he faced in a 4-0 victory.

Marian Hossa

Marian Hossa seems to have put last season in his rear-view mirror. Hossa has three goals in his last four games. Thus far this season, Hossa has already surpassed his total from last season.

With Toews being out, Hossa shoulders a big amount of PK time and goal scoring. The Blackhawks would be lost without Hossa’s play.

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Artemi Panarin

Panarin has netted two goals in the Blackhawks’ last three games. Panarin is on pace for another career season and close to on pace for the 77 points he had in his rookie year. He seems to make everyone he plays with better. He especially makes Patrick Kane better. Kane has assisted on 30 of Panarin’s NHL goals.

Who’s not hot

Vinny Hinostroza

Vincent Hinostroza seemed to be turning the corner on Nov. 19 when he had one goal and two assists for three points. After that strong showing there has been nothing ,despite playing on the Triple H Line.

Those were his first and only points with the Blackhawks this season. Hinostoza has not notched a single point since, making no points in nine games and only three points in 19 games.

The Blackhawks coaching staff seems to be losing faith in Hinostroza. His ice time was reduced in the last game to 9:42 in a 4-0 win against the Coyotes. He currently averages 11:54 minutes of ice time per night.

Michal Kempny

Michal Kempny was brought in to add depth to the Blackhawks defense. Over the last five games, Kempny has zero points and was a minus-2 in two separate games.

Kempny gets power playtime with the second unit and has yet to record a single goal this season. Kempny has been a healthy scratch for several games this year.

Injured players

Brent Seabrook joins the ever-growing list of injured Blackhawks. Seabrook is now out along with Toews and Crawford. There is no timelime for when Seabrook will return.

Toews has been out since Nov. 23. Reports now indicate that he is not getting better. Crawford is supposed to be out 2 to 3 weeks.

Next: Eastern Conference Continues To Roll in Rankings

The Blackhawks will have to deal with injuries to three of their core players. This is the first time in the Kane and Toews era that the Blackhawks will have to endure more than most teams.

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