Sid on the Blackhawks: Season’s Pressure Increases, So Does Hawks Defense

Sidney Brown provides dispatches from the front lines of Blackhawks fandom every week during the hockey season.

Fully committed to the process of chasing down their division rivals the Minnesota Wild for the top spot in the Central Division and the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks have utilized some different methods to shut down opponents as of late. Chicago is known for its high paced offense, but recently the team’s defense and special teams have made the difference in a successful 4-2 start to the month of March.

Last 6 Games

Goals Allowed: 10

Penalty Kill: 10 for 10

With the strong and consistent defensive play, we can’t forget about the difference-making play in net. Dealing with an injury to backup Scott Darling, the Hawks have relied on Corey Crawford alone to keep the Hawks within striking distance of the Conference lead with a Vezina Trophy-worthy performance.

Corey Crawford (Since March 1st)

Record: 3-2

Goals Against Average: 2.21

Save Percentage: .934

Goals Allowed: 11

Crawford’s best performance came in last Sunday’s win over Minnesota allowing two goals and stopping a season high 42 shots.  Until Darling returns, Crawford will have to shoulder the load in net and the strong play defensively must stay consistent.  As far as the penalty kill unit goes, do not take unnecessary penalties which thus limits your opponent’s man advantage chances.  Going 10 for 10 to start the month of March is a start but this trend must continue upwards as the playoffs start.

Other players who’ve started off the month hot are Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.  Kane looks to be in MVP form from a year ago while Panarin’s play is starting to improve from his rookie campaign of last season.

Patrick Kane (Since March 1st)

6 goals, 3 assists

Best Performance: Hat Trick on March 1st against Pittsburgh

Artemi Panarin

3 goals, 3 assists

Best Performance: Goal and assist on 3-12 against Minnesota

Giving Props

To Duncan Keith, for playing in his 900th career game at Detroit last Friday.

To Andrew Desjardins, for playing in his 400th career game at Detroit.

To Patrick Kane, who has scored 30+ goals in back to back seasons. Kaner reached 30 this season in Sunday’s win over Minnesota.

Team Statistics

Goals Against Average: 2.5 (8th in NHL)
Goals Per Game: 3.0 (7th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 18.8(17th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 77.7 (27th in NHL)

Team Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (73); Goals: Kane (30); Assists: Kane (43); Penalty Minutes: Ryan Hartman (55); Goals Against Average: Scott Darling (2.13)

The Road Ahead (Thru 3/23)

Tonight at Montreal Canadiens
Thursday at Ottawa Senators @ 6:30 pm
Saturday at Toronto Maple Leafs @ 6 pm
Sunday vs. Colorado Avalanche @ 6 pm
3/21 vs. Vancouver Canucks @ 7:30 pm                                                                                              
3/23 vs. Dallas Stars @ 7:30 pm

*All times central

Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio; Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and Sidney Brown @sidkid80

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