Chicago Blackhawks’ Awards For The 1st Half Of The 2014-15 Season | Bleacher Report

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Chicago Blackhawks Playing Down to Their Competition is Troubling Trend | Bleacher Report

Versteeg has been alert, aggressive and opportunistic this year, and he will make the Blackhawks a more dangerous team when he returns to the lineup. Tweet There are no surprises in this category, as Duncan Keith remains the Blackhawks’ best defenseman and is still one of the best at his position in the league. You wouldn’t expect anything else from a player who is a two-time winner of the Norris Trophy. Keith has remarkable offensive instincts and regularly puts them on display. He is so adept at carrying the puck and skating it out of the defensive zone to start the Chicago attack. Keith is a pinpoint passer who can put tape-to-tape passes on the sticks of the Blackhawks’ highly talented offensive players. He has scored six goals and 20 assists, and he has the ability to put together multiple-point games on a regular basis. He has a plus-12 rating and is averaging 25:57 of ice time per game. Keith’s presence on the ice means good things usually happen for the Blackhawks, as his on-ice Corsi mark of plus-18.66 percent indicates, per Behind the Net. Unsung Player Award: Marcus Kruger Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press The Blackhawks have slew of superstars, and that’s probably the main reason they are considered perhaps the league’s strongest threat to win the Stanley Cup this year. However, they also have their share of blue-collar workers who are never in consideration for the All-Star team but make valuable contributions anyway. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2330057-chicago-blackhawks-awards-for-the-1st-half-of-the-2014-15-season

The Blackhawks then caught a break when Kane’s shot went off Prosser’s left skate and right to Richards, who beat Backstrom from the left side for his ninth goal. Wild forward Jason Zucker made a great move to draw a penalty shot with 3:43 left in the second, but he sent a backhand wide of the net and a trailing Oduya made it 4-0 at 18:25 when he jumped on a loose puck for his second goal. The Blackhawks (28-13-2) improved to 3-0 against the Wild this season with their second win over Minnesota in four days. Kane had a goal and two assists and Crawford made 42 saves in Chicago’s 4-2 road win on Thursday night. Now the Blackhawks have four days off before they host Winnipeg on Friday night. Sunday’s win capped a stretch of five games in eight days. “With the four days off here, at least we’re going away feeling better about ourselves than our recent couple of games,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think we had such a busy stretch, it will be nice to get a breather here and get excited about our nice, busy stretch going into the All-Star break.” Just like in its most recent matchup with Minnesota, Chicago put together a strong start. Brandon Saad made a nice cross-ice pass to an open Toews, who then played it across the goalmouth to Hossa for the easy score at 4:17 of the first. Kane then made a nifty dash through the Minnesota zone to set up Bickell for a 2-0 lead at 7:53. It was Bickell’s fifth goal in his last seven games and No. source: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wild/288214621.html

Midseason Grades for Each Line on the Chicago Blackhawks | Bleacher Report

This line has performed quite well, but the potential is there for so much more throughout the rest of the season. Grade: A- No. 2 Line: Bryan Bickell, Brad Richards, Patrick Kane USA TODAY Sports Is there a more dangerous player on any No. 2 line in the NHL than Patrick Kane? Very unlikely, because Kane is a legitimate Hart Trophy (MVP) candidate while playing right wing on Chicago’s No. 2 line. He is the Blackhawks’ leading scorer with 20 goals and 27 assists through the team’s first 43 games, and he has a plus-nine rating. Kane seems quite likely to blow by his career high of 30 goals by late February or early March. A 35- to 40-goal season seems quite likely for the Blackhawks’ quicksilver forward who has scored six power-play goals and an eye-opening five game-winners. Brad Richards has been the No. 2 line’s center for much of the season. Richards took some time to get used to his new surroundings and linemates, but he has been trending upward since mid-November. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2328156-midseason-grades-for-each-line-on-the-chicago-blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks get fast start, cruise past struggling Minnesota Wild 4-1 | Star Tribune

It’s one thing if the four losses in the previous eight games prior to the win over Minnesota were one-goal games, but three of those defeats were by multiple goals. They dropped a 5-1 decision at home to the Jets, were blanked 2-0 at Colorado and were the victims of a 5-2 defeat to the lowly Edmonton Oilers. The only one-goal loss was their hard-luck 3-2 decision to the Capitals in the Winter Classic, when former Blackhawk Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 13 seconds remaining in the third period. In addition to struggling against teams that they would normally beat with ease, the Blackhawks had problems with their even-strength play and their inability to get off to good starts. They were outscored 19-13 in even-strength situations, and that’s normally an area where the Blackhawks dominate. According to NHL.com, Chicago is scoring 1.27 goals for every goal their opponents score in five-on-five situations, ranking fifth in the league. However, during that cold spell, they were scoring just 0.68 goals to each goal their opponents scored when both teams were at full strength. High-level teams like the Blackhawks can normally overcome the occasional slow start because they have so much firepower with superstars such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith in the lineup. However, even the best teams have problems when they get outscored consistently in the first period. Andy Devlin/Getty Images The Blackhawks were outscored 16-7 in the first periods during that eight-game stretch, and it explains why they had so much trouble against the likes of the Avs and Oilers. Those teams are used to falling behind, and when they face deficits in the second and third periods, it’s difficult for them to maintain a winning attitude and compete for 60 minutes. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2330395-chicago-blackhawks-playing-down-to-their-competition-is-troubling-trend

 

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