Hawks Vie to be First Repeat Champs in Two Decades
It hasn't been done since spring 1998, when the quintet of Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty won their second of four titles together. This current Blackhawks group, already having won the Holy Grail twice, have as good a shot as we've seen in 17 years to pull off a 24-month Cup reign. In fact, doing so would all but handChicagothe first cap era dynasty tagline with three championships over five years.
The defending champion, Blackhawks and their high-octane offense are again the top team in the NHL (on a 'points per game' basis) and lead the league in goals scored. In 13 home games at the Madison Madhouse,Chicagohas only lost once in regulation.
Patrick Kane remains a key cog in this potent Blackhawk core and seems to be one step closer to entering the prime of his career. Freshly turning the ripe old age of 25 this past week, the mullet-rocking dynamo has put together a double-digit point streak, chipping in 14 points over his past 10 games. With 25 points total in 24 games he's contributing once again at over a point-per-game pace. He very well may be in line to top his personal best of 88 points this year. During the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Patrick was already well on his way to crushing his career high with a pro-rated 96 points, but simply ran out of games.
Patrick Kane's Points Per Game rate over past 5 seasons
2009-10 = 1.07 PPG
2010-11 = 1.00 PPG
2011-12 = 0.80 PPG
2013 = 1.17 PPG
2013-14 = 1.04 PPG
This year, however, Kane has been attacking the net more than ever before, honing in on his goal scoring proficiency. He was already one of the league’s most dazzling goal scorers, though he's found the twine with less than superstar consistency. That being said, with a tight range of 21 to 30 goals scored per season, he's managed to be remarkably consistent for a mere 'star' goal producer. However, he's been noticeably shooting with a little more frequency and far more accuracy than ever before thus far. Heading into this campaign, number 88 has sent rubber flying on goal at a career average clip of 2.38 times per game. So far in 2013-14, he's taken 3.13 shots per game.
Prior to this year, his elevated goal scoring exploits have seen him go from one goal every 8.81 attempts since his rookie year, to one goal every 6.25 attempts this season. He is currently on pace to obliterate his 30 goal benchmark set in 2009-10 with a superstar goal scorer tally of 41.
Believe it or not, but Kane has been more productive on even strength with the least quality linemates he's had in years. With the Brandon brothers (Pirri & Saad) riding shotgun most often when Kane gets on the