The Chicago Blackhawks have found tremendous success during the regular season, consistently remaining a threat to their Western Conference foes, but the playoffs are a whole other animal.
Since the beginning of February the Chicago Blackhawks have begun to establish some much-needed cohesion through the lineup. Although coach Joel Quenneville’s line blender remains an ongoing occurrence, the team has experimented and found success in many different pairings of players.
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What makes this Blackhawks team a lot better than last year’s group of guys has been the contribution from all four lines and the ability for bottom-six forwards to step in for top-six players due to injury or whatever the situation may be.
Last year, the sensational duo of Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin produced more than its fair share of points for the ‘Hawks and at times appeared to be only option to get pucks in the net. This season has played out differently, and it’s a very good thing.
Although Kane and Panarin remain the team leaders in points (77 and 63) this season, scoring has been found throughout the lineup. Marian Hossa continues to turn back the clock this season after suffering a rough season last year with the ‘Hawks, while Jonathan Toews has broken his slump since the beginning of 2017.
Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz have been enjoying stellar rookie seasons and continue to prove they deserve a part in the ‘Hawks’ present and future. But there’s definitely a couple negatives to be addressed as well.
The injury bug has bitten the Blackhawks this year, with the latest victim being Artem Anisimov. While Schmaltz has the ability to move down to center the second line, what happens if another center goes down for the ‘Hawks?
What happens if lack of playoff experience causes unfortunate events against a more seasoned team? What happens if the Blackhawks’ collective faceoff percentage remains as poor as it has been? Let’s dive into a couple of the ‘Hawks’ concerns with the Stanley Cup Playoffs on their way.