Fansided
Editorials

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

jnikac
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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
2 of 4
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 07: Artem Anisimov #15 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates as the puck gets by goalie Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks in the first period at the United Center on February 7, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 07: Artem Anisimov #15 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates as the puck gets by goalie Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks in the first period at the United Center on February 7, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Power Play

In their first 32 games, the Chicago Blackhawks were dead last in the NHL on the power play (11.6% conversion rate). They had the second-worst shooting percentage (8.21) on the man-advantage despite behind middle of the pack in shots (134), scoring chances (123), and high danger-scoring chances (54). Additionally, they didn’t have a single game with multiple power-play goals during that span of time.

With elite talents like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Alex DeBrincat on a power-play unit together, you’d expect the ‘Hawks to figure out how to score when the opposing team is down a man. But they often got into trouble trying to enter the offensive zone and couldn’t get situated in a formation that worked for them.

Since December 12, the Chicago Blackhawks have the best power-play in the entire league. They’ve been so red-hot on the man advantage that they’ve gone from last in the league to 10th in power-play percentage. Their conversion rate over their last 23 games is 36.1%. That’s 7.9% higher than the second-best power play in this time span.

Their chances on the power play haven’t changed all that much, though. They’re still in the middle in terms of shots (100) and scoring chances (89), while they’re 28th in high-danger scoring chances (29). The difference for the Chicago Blackhawks is their shooting percentage, which is also the best in the league (26%) on the power play.

Right now, their luck is through the roof. The Blackhawks have only played five games since December 12 where they did not score a power-play goal. In many instances, their power play has won them games. But just like our very own John Aubert asked three weeks ago, is it enough to keep them afloat?

Goaltending

The Chicago Blackhawks had some of the worst goaltending in the league for the first two months of the season. Corey Crawford and Cam Ward combined for a .888 save percentage over the span of 32 games and fourth-worst in the NHL. Then, Crawford got his second concussion in a year and has barely been on the ice since.

That led to the recall of the savior of the ‘Hawks, otherwise known as Collin Delia.

In 12 games, he has posted a .923 save percentage. Among goalies who have played over 500 minutes since Delia’s first start on December 21, he has faced the second-most high-danger shots against (146) despite playing four fewer games than Ducks’ goalie John Gibson, who faced 162 high-danger shots against in that time span. Delia also has the second-best high-danger save percentage (.890) since his season debut. The only goalie with a better number is Anders Nilsson and he’s only played 10 games.

Even Cam Ward has performed better since December 12. While a .900 save percentage isn’t great by any means, it’s certainly better than the .885 he posted in the first 32 games of the season.

Overall, the Chicago Blackhawks have a .907 save percentage in their last 23 games. It’s not pretty, but it’s getting the job done. Delia is definitely giving his team a chance to win every single night and, recently, so is Ward. The terrible goaltending wasn’t going to last forever, and it sure has given the Blackhawks an extra boost of confidence.

facebooktwitterreddit