Sidney Brown provides dispatches from the front lines of Blackhawks fandom every week during the hockey season.
Once again the Chicago Blackhawks have planted their flag at the top of the Central Division and the Western Conference with a 13-4-2 record including a 8-1-1 mark in their last 10 games.
It’s around Thanksgiving time which means the Hawks are part taking in their annual Circus Trip. In years past, Chicago has used this early part of their schedule to form their identity and this year proves to be no different.
After dropping the opening game of the trip last Tuesday at Winnipeg, the Hawks have won their last two games in dramatic fashion. Although we’re only hallway through the trip, there have been some surprises and a few disappointments. Let’s take a look at some key moments during the first half of this road trip.
First 3 Games of Circus Trip
*Marian Hossa, Vinnie Hinostroza, Ryan Hartman — combined 5 goals (Hinostroza also with 2 assists)
*Penalty Kill is 7 for 8
*Jonathan Toews has no points so far on the trip
*Previously explosive duo Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov have a combined 3 goals
*Corey Crawford: 4 goals allowed in loss at Winnipeg (Rebounded with a solid performance in a win at Calgary)
*Power Play is 1 for 7
Receiving the headlines on this trip is veteran Marian Hossa with back to back game wining goals in his last two games. Hossa is making his time count playing on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane but let’s not forget the rookies who have kept the Hawks on top with Vinnie Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman anchoring the third and fourth lines.
Also, rookie forward Nick Schmaltz, who hasn’t scored a point yet since moving to the top line, but his energy along with playing two way hockey has given the Hawks an added spark.
The remaining games on this road trip will reveal who the Hawks really are as they’ll face tougher opponents (San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles) with the exception of Edmonton.
With the young core making their mark thus far, it’s time for the veterans like Toews, Kane and Anisimov to step up on the score sheet and sending a strong message to their counterparts not only in their division but in the Western Conference.
Goals Against Average: 2.5 (12th in NHL)
Goals Per Game: 3.2 (4th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 18.6 (14th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 69.5 (30th in NHL)
Points: Patrick Kane (20); Goals: Marian Hossa (11); Assists: Kane (14); Penalty Minutes: Marcus Kruger (16); Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (2.17)
The Road Ahead (Thru 11/26)
Tonight at Edmonton Oilers — 8 PM
Wednesday at San Jose Sharks — 9:30 PM
Friday at Anaheim Ducks — 3 PM
Saturday at Los Angeles Kings — 9:30 PM
*All times central
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