Chicago Blackhawks’ 5 Thoughts On Comeback Win Over Colorado

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14) during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14) during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz (8) skates past Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz (8) skates past Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Faceoff improvement

After two atrocious games in the faceoff circle, the ’Hawks looked a little better in this one.  Last Thursday against the Ottawa Senators, the Hawks were only 36 percent on the dot.  On Saturday in Toronto, they were 31 percent.  Sunday, they were just under even at 49 percent.  I’ll take this as a nice improvement.

Kruger was a healthy 67 percent on the dot.  This is refreshing, as Krugs recently wasn’t taking faceoffs at all while he waited for his wrist to heal up.  Toews and Tanner Kero both went 50 percent in the faceoff circle.

The only sour note here is Nick Schmaltz.  In the absence of Anisimov, Schmaltz has been asked to step into the second-line center role.  He has struggled mightily with faceoffs.  Sunday, he only won five draws and lost 10, for a measly 33 percent success rate.

While Anisimov has never been the best at faceoffs either, he’s still averaging 45.1 percent success this season.  Schmaltz is currently averaging 28.6 percent on the season.  Yuck!

More from Blackhawk Up

The good news is the Schmaltz went 22 percent and 8 percent in the last two games before Sunday, so I guess we can call 33 percent an improvement.  Just keep plugging away, my friend!  Maybe Toews can give you some pointers.

Kempny is not the answer

Defenseman Michal Kempny drew back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last four games, as Coach Q wanted to give Johnny Oduya a maintenance night off.

Needless to say, Kempny didn’t do himself any favors Sunday.  He was on the ice for the first two goals by the Avalanche, and finished off the night a minus-1.  For the most part, he was a liability on the ice.

He played the least amount of ice time (10:25) of all the defensemen, and only logged 16 shifts.  To give you some perspective on this, all the other defensemen logged at least 28 or more shifts.  Barring injury, I wouldn’t expect to see Kempny playing again any time soon.

The Chicago Blackhawks just keep finding ways to win.  Considering there are only three more weeks left in the regular season, this is just the right time for them to find their form.  With 99 points, they are first in the Western Conference, seven points ahead of second the second-place Minnesota Wild.

Next: Hawks Biggest Concerns For Playoffs

They are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for second in the NHL.  The Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets both have 100 points.   It will be interesting to see if the ’Hawks can continue winning, and keep their top spot in the West.

Never a dull moment, my friends!

facebooktwitterreddit