Better Opponents and an Increasingly Competitive Division
What else factored into the downward spiral of the Blackhawks? Their opponents. Despite “experts” talking about how weak the Central Division is, we can see that the division is really a dogfight for that last playoff spot. The Florida Panthers are also really good this season, something that wasn’t taken into account at the start of the year.
The Blackhawks’ rookies are showing up, also something that wasn’t expected. This team really can beat any team in the league when they are on their A-game, but they are so woefully inconsistent that this type of effort comes and goes without any notice or reason.
The Detroit Red Wings can defeat every team in the division as well. The Central is much more competitive and harder than anyone imagined, and the Blackhawks will be in a dogfight to earn that final playoff spot as their schedule won’t get any easier.
The Chicago Blackhawks took steps forward, and multiple steps backward this month. They played against teams who are expected to contend for the Stanley Cup and came out of that stretch with a horrible losing record. Their play since then has not been much better, losing both of their games to the Nashville Predators with lazy effort and horrible puck management.
Their goaltenders are doing all they can to win games. The rest of the team has to do their part to earn two points. The Central Division is starting to pick up the pace, and the competitiveness will continue to increase as we approach the month of April.