By Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)
Here Come The Hawks?
Well, an 8-2 record in their last 10 games, along with a recent seven-game win streak (snapped last Tuesday at Boston), would suggest that the Men in Red are suddenly primed for a playoff run.
Currently sitting three points behind the Minnesota Wild and the last Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks are in a unique position to control their destiny after several dreadful months where the team looked destined for a long rebuild and had to transition from a Hall of Fame worthy coach to an unknown upstart.
While Jeremy Colliton has been able to settle into his position as a rookie NHL coach, the Hawks have stepped up behind their most established talents.
Leading the way is 30-year-old veteran Patrick Kane, who is currently on a 17-game point streak (13 goals, 23 assists). Kaner has been on fire since the All-Star break and has reinforced his rep this season as one of the top players in the NHL.
NHL Leading Scorers (Since January 1st)
- Patrick Kane (37)
- Brad Marchand (29)
- Nikita Kucherov (29)
- Steven Stamkos (28)
- Sebastian Aho (28)
Kane: Second Hawk ever to record multiple point streaks of 16-plus games in his career (Denis Savard, 4 times).
— Set a team record with an assist in 15 straight games.
— Recorded his 50th assist of the season, marking the fifth time in Kane’s career he has accomplished that feat.
During Current 17 Game Point Streak
- Points (36)
- Goals (13)
- Assists (23)
- Power Play Goals (5)
Ever since Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews have been placed on the top line, the offense has been through the roof and opponents have been on the other side of these results.
Kane and Toews Scoring In the Same Game (record):
Regular Season: 81-7-5 (93 goals)
Playoffs: 6-0 (6 goals)
Kane’s made a combined 16 points in eight games in February and Toews has added 10 (5G, 5A), but he hasn’t been the only vet to contribute through this high point of the season: the Hawks have spent the last month establishing themselves as one of the hottest teams in the league.
Among the other Hawks with multiple goals and assists in February are Alex DeBrincat (4G, 8A), Dominik Kahun (3G, 6A), Dylan Strome (2G, 9A), Erik Gustofsson (4G, 4A) and Drake Gaggiula (3G, 2A).
In goal, the Hawks have been picked up by seeing Corey Crawford return to practice this month, but the team isn’t nearly as desperate to have him at this point of the season as they were prior to New Year’s. Cam Ward has excelled as the primary goaltender (4-1 record, 2.80 Goals Against, .926 save percentage) while the recently re-upped Collin Delia has been a solid backup (2-1 record, 3.90 GAA, .892 SV%).
The new guidance of Colliton seems to be paying off and it has this team primed for an exciting six-plus weeks to remain in the regular season.
With that being the case, Chicago now finds itself in a unique position with a week away from the NHL’s trading deadline.
With a tough schedule ahead, if the winning should continue, will general manager Stan Bowman trade to upgrade the roster, i.e. a top line defenseman or clear cap space in preparation for this summer? The performance on the ice will provide answers in helping deciding the fate for the remainder of this season and beyond.
*To Chris Kunitz for playing in his 1,000th career game. The veteran winger marked the milestone against New Jersey on Valentine’s Day, becoming the 28th active player to do so and the 13th player this season to achieve that feat.
*To Brandon Saad for recording his 300th career point with an assist in the 5-2 victory over New Jersey.
- Points: Patrick Kane (87)
- Goals: Patrick Kane (35)
- Assists: Patrick Kane (52)
- Penalty Minutes: Duncan Keith (64)
- Goals Against Average: Collin Delia (3.22)
- Goals Per Game: 3.24 (9th in NHL)
- Goals Against: 3.64 (31st in NHL)
- Power Play Percentage: 21.3 (13th in NHL)
The Road Ahead (2/18 thru 3/3)
Tonight vs. Ottawa Senators — 7:30 pm
Wednesday at Detroit Red Wings — 6:30 pm
Friday vs. Colorado Avalanche — 6:30 pm
Sunday vs. Dallas Stars — 2:00 pm
2/27 at Anaheim Ducks — 9:00 pm
3/2 at Los Angeles Kings — 3:00 pm
3/3 at San Jose Sharks — 9:00 pm
*All times central
Sidney Brown covers the Chicago Blackhawks for WARR