Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Post-Bye Play Shows Progression

By Gail Kauchak
Feb 4, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) and center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrate a goal during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) and center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrate a goal during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ryan Hartman (38) is congratulated for scoring a goal by left wing Richard Panik (14) during the third period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Chicago won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Balanced scoring

During their five-game winning streak, the ’Hawks scored four or more goals in all five games.  “With 14 goals, including three game-winners, the two top lines claimed 61 percent of the scoring, while the bottom six notched five goals and the defense lit the lamp four times, including two game-winners” (courtesy of our very own George Clifford). So how have they fared in the last two games?

In Edmonton on Saturday, only Richard Panik managed to score. But, Panik’s goal made him the fifth Blackhawk to score 15 goals on the season.The team only had four players to accomplish this feat last year.

He joined the club with Marian Hossa (21 goals), Artem Anisimov (21), Patrick Kane (20) and Artemi Panarin (19). Ryan Hartman (14) and Jonathan Toews (12), who both scored Sunday, aren’t too far behind. I’d say this is an excellent sign of depth.

More from Blackhawk Up

Moving on to the Buffalo game, the ’Hawks once again lit up the scoreboard with lots of goals, five to be exact. Every single line scored, with the second line scoring twice. All four lines rolling, and all four lines a threat; well, that’s exactly what you want this time of year, isn’t it?!

Special teams

In the last five games before the break, the Chicago Blackhawks scored six powerplay goals on 12 chances, including two on the Oilers last Saturday. That’s really good!

But since then, they were unable to convert on three chances Saturday night, and only managed three shots on goal on the man advantage. They went 0 of 3 on the powerplay in Buffalo as well, although they did generate seven shots on goal.

There is definitely room for improvement here. Coach Q has been recently going with a different look on the power play, utilizing four forwards and one defenseman. We’ll see if that continues.

On the penalty kill, the ’Hawks killed 13 of 15 penalties in the five games before the break (thank you, George!). Unfortunately, Edmonton’s Matt Benning scored on one of two powerplay chances on Saturday against Edmonton.

But they were able to kill off four powerplay chances by the Sabres on Sunday.  I’m not too worried about the penalty kill. Since they were so horrendous at the beginning of the year, they’ve really found their groove in this department as the season has progressed.

My only comment here would be the taking of the penalties in the first place. The Oilers scored on a powerplay that was instigated by Hartman dropping the gloves.

Many say it was warranted and he should have done so, but it did result in a goal for the opposing team. And I’m sure Coach Q will be preaching at the next practice that four penalties is way too many to take (Sabres game). The ’Hawks could afford to work on their discipline.

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