Chicago Blackhawks’ Offensive Struggles Are Harming Their Goaltenders

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 14: Corey Crawford
MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 14: Corey Crawford /

After scoring 18 goals in their first three games, the Chicago Blackhawks have slowed down tremendously. Their inability to keep control of the puck while allowing opponents to pile on their goaltenders has become a major issue 10 games into the season.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ biggest question mark coming into this season was their defense. Losing Niklas Hjalmarsson and having a revolving door of blueliners was a scary ordeal, but the ’Hawks are somewhat working well with the transition.

One aspect of play they’re failing to control, however, is the offense and its inability to maintain puck possession and hold momentum in games. The Blackhawks have allowed their opponents to hold the pressure, overwhelm their defense and force their goaltenders to work overtime. Let’s break it down.

Shots against per game

The Blackhawks are one of the worst teams so far this season regarding their shots against per game. In fact, they’re the third-worst team with an average of 35.6 shots against per game. In the last three games, they’ve allowed 104 shots to hit their goaltenders, who have permitted eight goals in the process.

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That’s not something you’d like to see, especially with a talented offense such as the ’Hawks have. When you’re getting overwhelmed with shots, that immediately points fingers to your offense, which seems to not be doing its job correctly.

Being outshot means your offense isn’t keeping possession, which leads to ice tilting, and more importantly, goals against. Luckily for the ’Hawks, their goaltenders have been pretty solid, as each of them are holding a save percentage that’s above .915, which is the league average.

Impact on goaltenders

However, if the trend continues and the ’Hawks aren’t able to spark momentum offensively, Corey Crawford‘s .937 save percentage may slip and lower, or it may even increase if he continues to do a great job. Although that may be unethical, considering what happened during the team’s 4-2 loss versus the Vegas Golden Knights, the Blackhawks would no doubt appreciate it if the entire team effort increased.

One thing is for sure: If the ’Hawks’ offense doesn’t take manners into its own hands and start creating puck movement throughout the game and creating scoring chances with dominant puck play, this season can turn sour very quickly.

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Goaltenders can’t be left to dry for too long. They’ll become over worked and will help a doomed fate near. It’s time for line changes and mixups, so don’t get comfortable with what you’re looking at just yet.