Analysis

Why the Next 5 Games Are Crucial for the Chicago Blackhawks

By Joel Santelli
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate defeating the Dallas Stars 6-1 at the United Center on April 5, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate defeating the Dallas Stars 6-1 at the United Center on April 5, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks need to figure things out during the next 5 games and take advantage of a long homestand.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ season has started out less than ideal, with the ‘Hawks dropping their first three games and obtaining only one out of a possible six points. With five games remaining of the seven-game homestand, the Blackhawks could find themselves in a deep hole, unless they turn things around in a hurry.

Momentum

Every sports fan has been there; your team has a comfortable lead and all of a sudden the tides change. You can feel the other team clawing their way back into it and you are hoping and praying your team can hang on tight and close out the game.

When one team starts to gain momentum, that means the other team is losing it. Momentum is a powerful force that once lost, can be hard to regain. The Blackhawks have not started out the way they would have hoped, but it’s still early in the season and there is still plenty of time to gain traction.

After Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy returned to the lineup from injury, the Blackhawks had their best game defensively against the Winnipeg Jets. They averaged a 50% Corsi throughout the game. The ‘Hawks are hoping they can build off this going into the next five games.

On the flip side, if the Chicago Blackhawks win less than three of the next five games, the team’s momentum could continue to trend downwards and hurt the team’s overall confidence. This will prove difficult as the next five Blackhawks’ opponents have a combined record of 16-6-3.

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Points Are Crucial

Heading into the 2019-20 season, many analysts and fans alike were talking about how stacked the Central Division is. The division houses two perennial Stanley Cup contenders: the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators; two up-and-comers: the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars; and the reigning champions, the St. Louis Blues.

Four of the six Central Division teams have started the season off strong. The ‘Hawks do not want to dig themselves in a deeper hole in a league where it is challenging to make up lost points. They are already six points behind the third-place team in the Central Division, but have played two fewer games. Victories in the next stretch of games will allow the ‘Hawks to stay in the mix.

Taking Advantage at Home

Historically speaking, the Chicago Blackhawks have been a good team when playing at home in the United Center, with their lifetime record being 480-330 in 983 games. They have also had a top ten winning percentage in their home arena in seven of the last ten seasons, with the last two seasons being outside of the top ten. The Blackhawks will need to return to having success at home if they want to make the playoffs.

Prior to the 2019 Blackhawks home opener, Patrick Kane stated the following:

"“I think it gives us some motivation knowing we have seven home games coming up here,”"

Teams generally play better at home than on the road and the Chicago Blackhawks will want to take advantage of these next five home games. The ‘Hawks first test of the next five home games will be on Monday, October 14th when they take on the Edmonton Oilers, who have started the season strong with a record of 5-0.

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