Chicago Blackhawks Hot And Not: Nick Schmaltz, Patrick Kane Impress

By Juliana Nikac
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after a power play goal during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after a power play goal during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after a power play goal during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after a power play goal during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Writing up a Chicago Blackhawks Hot and Not post is practically effortless when the team is riding a six-game point streak

The Chicago Blackhawks’ point spree could not have come at a better time. With the Minnesota Wild dropping five of their last six decisions, the ’Hawks have surpassed them for first in the Central Division. They’re now six points ahead of their rival with nine games remaining. They are also the first Western team to hit 100 points.

The Blackhawks are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, their five-game win streak being snapped last night by the Vancouver Canucks. Not only are they leading their division, but they’re also the top seed in the Western Conference.

The Wild somehow still have one game in hand on the Blackhawks. But instead of focusing on the standings, let’s discuss which Blackhawks have been successful as of late, and which are going cold. Here are the Blackhawks who are hot, as well as the ones who are not.

Mar 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (88) plays the puck during the first period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (88) plays the puck during the first period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

Who’s Hot: Patrick Kane

Here is a question we constantly ask ourselves: “Is Patrick Kane hot right now?” Instead, we should question when he isn’t hot.

Since January 1, Kane has 43 points (21  goals, 22 assists). He leads the team in goals, assists, points, powerplay points and shots on goal. In his last six games, he’s tallied 3 goals and 6 assists. That’s good for 9 points, which is … you know, good.

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He’s also leading the team in average time on ice per game this season (21:31). So not only is he racking up the points, but he’s playing heavy minutes too, without being on the penalty kill.

In Toronto, Kane was shockingly held scoreless. He then proceeded to collect two points against Colorado, including the first goal off a 2-on-1 with Artemi Panarin, because of course. He also collected an assist in the Blackhawks’ almost-comeback against the Canucks last night.

He’s been a different player in the second half of the season from the first half. Remember when no one thought he was going to crack 30 goals again this season?

Who’s Not: Marcus Kruger

Kruger has been practically invisible on the ice lately, and I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Against the Avalanche on Sunday, he scored his first goal since December 1, only his sixth of the season. It was an empty-netter to make the score 6-3 ’Hawks.

Kruger was out with injury for a good amount of time, but he should be playing a little bit more like we know Kruger can play than he has been. While everyone has been collecting points, it seems he can’t find a way to even grab a secondary assists here or there.

He has four (!) points since returning from injury. He has to figure out a plan to collect more points, or in some way contribute a little bit more offensively.

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