Chicago Blackhawks Hot And Not: Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith Solid Early


After starting the season scoring 15 goals in the first two games of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks have cooled down by averaging just two goals a game in their last eight games

The Chicago Blackhawks had a tough challenge to start the season, but managed points in seven of their first 10 games.  Let’s take a look at who has been lighting things up and those who have been transparent as ghosts.

Who’s hot: Patrick Kane

Kane started the season on fire, along with linemates Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman. In the first five games, Kane gathered seven points (2G, 5A).

Then Schmaltz was lost to injury for nearly five games, but Kane managed to stay consistent over that time by tallying five points (3G, 2A).

It’s been a struggle for Kane, even though he currently has a six-game scoring streak (six points; 3G, 3A).  There is no doubt he finds a way to put the puck in the back of the net more often that not. He’ll just have to continue to do so while other players are sitting in a funk.

Who’s not: Artem Anisimov

There hasn’t been an “Arty Party” in quite a while. Seven games to be exact. That was the last time he scored a goal — his lone goal, 10 games into this season. He’s also been held scoreless over his last six games.

Anisimov, the third-line center this year, filled in on the second line when Schmaltz went down with an injury. In that time, Anisimov was a non-factor. His faceoff win percentage has improved to a respectable 53, but winning those faceoffs has not led to puck control in the offensive zone.

His presence in front of the net is something the Blackhawks count on. Unfortunately, the ‘Hawks cannot maintain puck control in their own zone, let alone the offensive zone, which would allow Anisimov to camp in front of the net.

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Who’s hot: Duncan Keith

Chicago still runs on Duncan. Keith once again shows that age (34) is just a number. He leads all Blackhawks in ice time (25:02) per game.

He’s accumulated five assists in his last five games. Teamed up with longtime pairing partner Brent Seabrook, Keith seems more comfortable on the ice.

He sees plenty of time on both the powerplay and penalty kill, and is the cog to the Blackhawks’ defensive core. With so much change on the defensive side of the puck this year, Keith is going to have to be at the top of his game until the other defensive units jell.

Who’s not: Michal Kempny

Kempny is in his second full year in the NHL. With the departures of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk and the retirement of Brian Campbell, Kempny needs to step up.

He appeared in 50 games last year. This year, he’s played in seven games with just one assist. He has been a healthy scratch over the last three games.

It seems he has found himself in coach Joel Quenneville‘s doghouse. And to be there this early in the season does not bode well for things to come for Kempny.

Who’s heating up: The fourth line

The combination of Lance BoumaTommy WingelsJohn Hayden has been the most consistent line for the ‘Hawks over the last two games. It was the difference in the 4-2 victory against the  Arizona Coyotes.  It was also the only line that was able to gain any type of momentum in Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss against the Vegas Knights.

Next: Early Analysis Of Blackhawks' Panarin-Saad Trade

The Blackhawks get two nights off before they host the Nashville Predators on Friday night. The ‘Hawks beat the Predators 2-1 in overtime at the United Center back on October 14.