The Blackhawks Have Their Swagger Back
It's not like the Chicago Blackhawks have played poorly since they captured the Stanley Cup during the 2009-10 season, but when you have the type of talent Chi-Town has, expectations are high. Chicago followed their championship with a couple of first round exits from the playoffs, after finishing in eighth and sixth respectively in the West over the last two years. Early round losses aside, the Blackhawks were still a good team, but just not a great one.
In 2013 things have changed. Chicago has yet to lose in regulation and are off to a 15-0-3 start. Not only that, but the Blackhawks own the NHL's best goal differential at plus-22. All that firepower is finally clicking, and in the process, making poolies very happy.
One thing that has certainly helped Chicago this season is a healthy Jonathan Toews. Captain Serious missed significant time last year with a concussion, and even upon his return he didn't look quite right. It was clear the Blackhawks not only missed his leadership in 2011-12, but also his consistency. Toews has 15 points in 18 games so far in 2013, but hasn't recorded more than two points in a contest. Essentially, he is doing a great job of helping poolies on a nightly basis, as opposed to having a few strong games and then lying dormant for a week or two.
The return of Toews has allowed Chicago to keep together two dominant scoring lines. With his injury last year the Blackhawks were forced to juggle and change things up frequently. Look at who Patrick Kane typically played with in 2011-12.
Frequency Strength Line Combination
12.5% EV 88 KANE,PATRICK – 25 STALBERG,VIKTOR – 19 TOEWS,JONATHAN
11.18% EV 15 BRUNETTE,ANDREW – 81 HOSSA,MARIAN – 88 KANE,PATRICK
6.35% EV 88 KANE,PATRICK – 10 SHARP,PATRICK – 19 TOEWS,JONATHAN
6.16% EV 81 HOSSA,MARIAN – 88 KANE,PATRICK – 10 SHARP,PATRICK
4.31% PP 81 HOSSA,MARIAN – 88 KANE,PATRICK – 10 SHARP,PATRICK – 19 TOEWS,JONATHAN
4.3% EV 88 KANE,PATRICK – 10 SHARP,PATRICK – 25 STALBERG,VIKTOR
4.19% EV 13 CARCILLO,DANIEL – 81 HOSSA,MARIAN – 88 KANE,PATRICK
3.6% EV 13 CARCILLO,DANIEL – 88 KANE,PATRICK – 10 SHARP,PATRICK
2.53% EV 88 KANE,PATRICK – 16 KRUGER,MARCUS – 10 SHARP,PATRICK
2.3% EV 13 CARCILLO,DANIEL