By Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)
After struggling to find their footing in October, the month of November represented hope and promise for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Posting a record of 7-5-3 was a sign of growth, but a 1-4-1 record to end the month represents that there’s still more work to be done. A few veterans turned a corner with their play trending upwards, while some key young guns contributed in major ways to help the Hawks become a competitive team.
The Hawks enter December with a 10-11-5 overall record and a contest tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. This recent success has Chicago in the middle of the Wild Card race in the Western Conference, but the Hawks must remember a season is a long marathon, not a sprint.
Patrick Kane: 11 goals, 13 assists (current 15-game point streak)
Jonathan Toews: 3 G, 9 A
Alex DeBrincat: 2 G, 10 A
Brandon Saad: 5 G, 6 A
Dylan Strome: 2 G, 8 A
Young Stars Stepping Up
Kirby Dach: 4 G, 4 A
Alex Nylander: 2 G, 2 A
David Kampf: 3 G, A
Dominik Kubalik: 4 G, 2 A
Erik Gustafsson: 3 G, 2 A
The goaltending tandem of Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner have lived up to expectations after a slow start. Unfortunately, they gave up a combined 12 goals to division rival Colorado in two games since Thanksgiving, but these two net-minders are bringing confidence and consistency to the net, giving Chicago a chance in every game.
Crawford and Lehner each had save percentages over .900 for the month of November (Crawford, .925; Lehner, .923). The vet Crow maintained a goals against of 2.57 while Lehner kept a decent 3.06 average.
Look Ahead to December
The Men in Red will be on the road more times than not to wrap up 2019. Opponents include division rivals St. Louis, Winnipeg and Colorado along with Calgary and Original Six rival Boston. The home paying customers at the United Center will see Chicago on ice six times including match-ups with division rivals St. Louis, Minnesota and Colorado along with Arizona, New Jersey and New York Islanders.
Home play has come with average results this season, including a 7-6-2 record, while play away from the UC has been a different story (3-5-3). Can the Hawks take another step in growth from their young stars? Will the team defense play more consistent? Will Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat start scoring goals? The next 15 games on the schedule will mark a turning point on where this season will turn.
Team Leaders (as of December 1st)
Points: Patrick Kane (33)
Goals: Patrick Kane (14)
Assists: Patrick Kane (19)
Penalty Minutes: Andrew Shaw (33)
Goals Against Average: Robin Lehner (2.69)
Goals Per Game: 2.85 (21st in NHL)
Goals Against: 3.00 (16th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 13.8 (26th in NHL)
Sidney Brown covers the Chicago Blackhawks for WARR