Editorials

Are the Chicago Blackhawks actually as good as their recent play has been?

By Juliana Nikac
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after a goal by left wing Alex DeBrincat in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after a goal by left wing Alex DeBrincat in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks are currently on a six-game winning streak and sit just two points out of a playoff spot. They’re also just three points up on the last-place team in the Western Conference. All this begs the question: are the Chicago Blackhawks actually good again?

The first two months of the 2018-2019 season were nothing but a nightmare for the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans.

After going 6-2-2 in their first ten games, the ‘Hawks plunged into an eight-game losing streak. In the midst of that, they fired their long-time future Hall-of-Fame head coach Joel Quenneville and hired Rockford’s 33-year-old head coach Jeremy Colliton to try something different. But nothing changed. The ‘Hawks won three games and lost three games before descended into yet another eight-game losing streak. They dug themselves into such a deep hole that nobody thought they’d ever find a way out.

Everyone wrote the Blackhawks off and thought they’d never get back in. Not many teams can go on two separate long losing streaks and end up a few points back of a playoff spot later in the season. But a 13-6-4 record since December 12 puts the team two games below .500 and only two points back of a wildcard spot.

What is this team doing differently now? How did they go from the 31st team in the NHL to the brink of a playoff spot?

The short answer is they haven’t necessarily played better in their last 23 games than they did in their first 32 games of the season. A combination of luck, better goaltending, and a much-improved power play have overshadowed the big issues the ‘Hawks still haven’t fixed.

So, are the Chicago Blackhawks actually good again? Let’s find out.

*All statistics are provided by Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick.*

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