It has been an interesting start to the season for the Chicago Blackhawks, who have seen five of their first ten games head to extra time, four of which needed a shootout as well. Game one showed the Blackhawks offensive firepower in a 6-4 win over Washington. Likewise, game ten topped the goal total in the opener, as the Blackhawks fell 6-5 to Tampa Bay in overtime. Fans also got a special treat when Dave Bolland, who scored the Blackhawks Stanley Cup clinching goal last season, returned for the first time to the United Center. A fan favorite while with Chicago, Bolland received a warm welcome from the Blackhawk faithful and took part in the ceremonial puck drop. The annual mothers trip was successful again, as the Hawks tallied three points out of a possible four against Florida and Tampa Bay. Here’s the ten-game report for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hey, the Hawks have gotten points in 9 of 10 games and the one loss came in the final seconds of the third period against St. Louis. Maybe it doesn’t live up to Chicago’s historic start last season, but fans cannot complain about the way this season has gone so far. At 2.7 goals per game, the Hawks are around the middle of the pack in scoring, but have shown their true capabilities at times. On the defensive side, Corey Crawford has been all that coach Joel Quenneville can ask he be. With a 5-1-2 record and a GAA of 2.04, Crawford has been among the best in the NHL thus far. Quenneville has made strides with finding out which guys work well together and has been very successful with in-game line changes.
On the other hand, the Blackhawks have been outright horrendous in the third period. Being outscored 12-5 in the third period is just not going to get the job done come playoff time. While the power play has been decent at 21.0%, the penalty kill has been atrocious. Thursday’s two for four performance on the PK did not help either. For the season, Chicago is just a shade over 70% on the kill. This is a dramatic shift from last year for the Blackhawks, who’s power play was a pedestrian 16.6% and a penalty kill which was ranked third in league at 87.2%.
As long as the Hawks are able to stay healthy, they will stay near the top of the Central Division and Western Conference. However, that could be an issue. The injury bug has already bitten the likes of prominent players such as Cam Ward (lower-body), Pekka Rinne (hip), and Taylor Hall (knee) around the NHL. For the Blackhawks, rookie Mike Kostka will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during practice Tuesday. The 6-foot-1 defenseman had the game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory over Toronto early this season.
Season Report Card to Date