The Chicago Blackhawks have the goaltending, the offense, and the vision. Once they solve their defensive struggles, they will become a real threat.
The Chicago Blackhawks have almost everything they need to be a successful hockey team every night: Offense, solid goaltending, work ethic, and the vision that everyone bought into. At the start of the season, the Blackhawks were blown out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who looked out of sorts and had every reason to be utterly dominated. Fast forward just a month and a half and the Blackhawks have three of four points in two games against the same Lightning team.
The offense is self-explanatory to every Blackhawks fan. When you have Patrick Kane, one of the best offensive quarterbacks in the league, snipers in Alex Debrincat and Dominik Kubalik, then add the multiple surprise contributors such as Philipp Kurashev, Brandon Hagel, Ryan Carpenter as of late.
The powerplay is still top-ranked in the league, and the Blackhawks can sustain a good amount of offensive pressure with crisp passing and cycles. The defense is also adding to the offense, with Adam Boqvist adding ten points in fourteen games.
They make mistakes here and there, but they are also one of the youngest teams in the league as well. Rookie mistakes are bound to happen, but this Blackhawks team is surpassing all expectations, with every line and every player, really, making an impact on a nightly basis. Their work ethic and “track meet” style of play that Jeremy Colliton wanted from them has become standard for them, and they managed to stay in the game against the best team in the NHL.
They are a fast, relentless team and came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Lightning 4-3 in a shoot-out. They actually didn’t play their best game, but they still managed to earn two points in the standings.
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This team has the offensive firepower to stay in games, but they can’t win the game if a goaltender can’t stop a puck. The Blackhawks’ goaltending has done more than that and stopped pucks that should have been goals.
Kevin Lankinen has been solid in every game he’s played, and his only weakness is something goaltenders don’t have to worry about which is playing the puck behind the net. His positioning, awareness, and poise are second to none, and the Blackhawks are lucky to have him for another year on a disgustingly cheap deal.
Malcolm Subban looks to be coming into his own, with an outstanding outing against the Lightning. He was kind of shaky and lost the goaltending battle to Detroit, but he dominated in his next start. Like Lankinen, he looks to have great positioning, along with good awareness, and decent poise.
Now, with the offense, vision, and goaltending all sound and consistent, the Blackhawks defense has been… Underwhelming.
Against the Lightning in the first game, they outplayed them for forty minutes, only to let the Lightning comeback 2-2 in ten-fifteen minutes in the third. They always seem to allow most of their SOG in one period, which is concerning. In the second game, Malcolm Subban stood on his head to keep the ‘Hawks in it. They didn’t have the same effect as they did the night before. For this defense, they really just need consistency. That’s all.
To conclude, the Chicago Blackhawks have been consistent in every aspect of the game except in the defensive zone. They seem to always have a slot of about ten to fifteen minutes where they are outplayed and have to scramble to get back into the game
or keep up with the momentum of the opposition to hold on for the win. Once they maintain consistent defensive efforts, they will be a real threat to the league.