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Chicago Blackhawks Show Similarities to the 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins

Jeremiah Lee
Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane #88 Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane #88 Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Penguins, Matt Murray
Pittsburgh Penguins, Matt Murray Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Goaltending

And now, we come to the glaring difference. In 2015-16, a goaltender named Matt Murray took over the starting spot from Marc-Andre Fleury, an almost certain Hall of Fame goaltender.

With the best goaltending tandem in the NHL, they stormed into the playoffs as the hottest team in the NHL with a 16-5 record down the stretch. With both goaltenders, they were able to survive in the playoffs. When goalie 1A didn’t do well, 1B would take over and save the series and vise versa.

The Chicago Blackhawks do not have this luxury, though there was a possibility of this tandem if they kept Corey Crawford. They did not, and now goaltending is a gigantic question mark. I will be honest here: If neither Collin Delia or Malcolm Subban perform at a level close to a 0.910 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA (these are stats to look for in a starting goalie) we will be in yet another draft lottery.

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There is no offense or defense that can save you from the woes of a bad goalie, it doesn’t matter how many goals you score if your goalie allows 4-5 goals per game. The offense cannot score 6 goals every game, it just doesn’t happen.

The defense can do everything possible to keep pucks away, but if the goalie can’t stop it, then the games lost. If the goalie is swiss cheese against players like Alex Ovechkin or Vladimir Tarasenko, the opposition will have a field day. Corey Crawford saved the ‘Hawks from a sweep to the Vegas Golden Knights and kept the ‘Hawks in the series for the five games. We do not have a proven starting goaltender and if neither Delia or Subban do well, it will be another ugly season.

Conclusion

The Chicago Blackhawks do have the opportunity to prove haters wrong and make a surprising run to the playoffs. They have established superstars in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, promising youngsters, better depth, and a potential improvement on D on their roster. Their proposed system will benefit them in the long run, but they need to execute when the season begins. Everything, except goaltending, looks to be in order for brighter days of Chicago Blackhawks hockey. I just hope the goaltenders prove me wrong and show that they are quality goalies who can steal a game.

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