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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) /
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CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 07: Goalie Collin Delia #60 of the Chicago Blackhawks watches the puck against the Vancouver Canucks in overtime at the United Center on February 7, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 07: Goalie Collin Delia #60 of the Chicago Blackhawks watches the puck against the Vancouver Canucks in overtime at the United Center on February 7, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Penalty Kill

There’s not too much to say about the penalty kill for the Chicago Blackhawks. It was bad the first 32 games this season (74.4%) and it’s been almost as terrible since then (75%).

Overall, they’ve allowed the third-most shots (290), fifth-most scoring chances (253), and the second-most high-danger scoring chances (122) in the league. The Blackhawks have the worst penalty kill in the league (73.6%) so far this season.

They don’t take as many penalties as some might think they do (7.9 PIM/game) but they’re nowhere near good enough defensively to get into penalty trouble night in and night out.

I think those numbers speak for themselves. The PK hasn’t improved for the Blackhawks at all. Let’s move on.

5-on-5

So we’ve finally reached the area of the game that matters the most. 5-on-5 is where teams must play their best hockey because that’s the strength they spend the most time playing at.

Unfortunately, it also brings some bad news for Chicago Blackhawks fans who believe the team has improved.

In the first 32 games of the season, the ‘Hawks were in the middle of the league in terms of possession statistics: 12th in Corsi-for percentage (50.75) and 18th in Fenwick-for percentage (49.36). But they allowed the third-most scoring chances (763) and the most high-danger scoring chances (335). And a 7.58 team shooting percentage didn’t do them any favors in terms of giving them a chance to win games.

Yeah, those numbers aren’t very good. It shows that the Blackhawks were definitely a bad team, just like the standings showed. You’d think with their better record in the 23 games since then their stats would be better, right?

Not at all. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.

The ‘Hawks have the second-worst Corsi-for percentage (45.89) and Fenwick-for percentage (44.54) since December 12. That basically means they don’t have the puck enough and are allowing a ton of shot attempts, both blocked and unblocked. They’ve allowed 683 shots while only putting 563 on net. Only the Penguins have a worse SF/SA ratio.

Additionally, this team has allowed 595 scoring chances in the last 23 games. That’s the most in the league and 27 more than the Washington Capitals, who have allowed the second-most scoring chances. They’ve also allowed 269 scoring chances, which is also the most in the league. What’s even worse is the fact that their high-danger goals for percentage is 40.74, almost 10% less than their HDGF% in the first 32 games (50%).

If you don’t understand what I’m trying to say here, the gist is that the Chicago Blackhawks are being kicked around on the ice at 5-on-5 and not enough is being said about it.

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