The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t off to the greatest of starts, but maybe some of their fans aren’t noticing
The majority of the eyes in Chicago are focused on the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Chicago Blackhawks are very lucky most people are not watching them play early in the regular season.
In the team’s longest offseason since 2011-12, the Blackhawks’ start has not been promising. Their bottom six forwards have already sustained a injury to Ryan Hartman. Hartman figured to be a big-time bottom six forward for the Blackhawks.
The issues from last season seemed to have carried over to this season . The penalty kill for the Blackhawks was awful last year. The league average was 81.34 percent, and the Blackhawks were 80.26 percent. In their first four games this season, the Blackhawks have allowed 17 powerplay goals.
In a small sample size this year, the league average is 80.80 percent on the penalty kill, and the Blackhawks are a league-low 47.06 percent. Despite the small sample size, this is an alarming stat. Last year, the excuse was Marcus Kruger was injured for the majority of the season. This year, Kruger is back and the PK is worse.
The lead after two periods was 4-1. While most of Chicago watched the Cubs trail the Dodgers in Game 3, the Blackhawks squandered a three-goal lead and were tied midway through the third period. Artem Anisimov would give the Blackhawks the lead again later in the third period. They would score another two goals to win the game 7-4.
It is early in this young season, but the warts from last season are starting to rear their ugly heads again. Blowing big leads was a trend last year — the home loss to the Blues, 6-5 early in last year, comes to mind. Luckily, the Blackhawks were able to win after blowing a big lead Tuesday.
Another trend that appears to be starting to build on the Blackhawks is taking a ton of penalties. In their 3-2 loss to the Predators, the Blackhawks committed nine penalties.
A roster that once again had to undergo a purge, with mainstays Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen jettisoned in cost-cutting moves, is struggling to find its groove. Regardless, the PK and blown leads were issues from last season that need to be cleaned up and fast.