Live from Mexico, I have some thoughts.
What a satisfying weekend for Hawks fans.
The real talk is that the Chicago Blackhawks are 6-1-2 in their last 9 games.
They now sit 5th in the Central Division – 1 ahead of Nashville and 2 behind Dallas.
CHI is 11th in the NHL for GA/game, which is a far cry from the 30th overall defensive team last year. From 3.55 to 2.85 average goals given up per game, the Blackhawks are a new team in that regard.
CHI is 15th in the NHL for GF/game averaging 3.05. This is also good – and as we all know – this category of “goal scoring” has picked up as of late.
Ever since Jeremy Colliton and the coaching staff (who were also possibly nudged by upper management) switched up the overall strategy and style of this team, the Hawks are scoring more and having fun doing so.
The Hawks knew they could score coming into this year. They were 8th last year with a 3.26 goals for per game. In reality, the Hawks actually added more scoring depth this offseason, so filling the back of the net shouldn’t have been the issue.
However, at the start of the year, the Hawks seemed to be focusing more on the defensive end that seemed to compromise their ability to have an effective offensive attack.
When, this all have changed and after a 7-2 redemption win vs. Nashville on Saturday, they followed that up with a 4-1 victory against Buffalo on Sunday.
Don’t look now, but the Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the league.
When the Hawks signed Robin Lehner in the offseason, I’m assuming this is exactly what they envisioned. They have an amazing 1-2 punch with the big Swede and Corey Crawford.
I know there has been some turmoil to begin this season. Even I was ready to give Colliton the boot if things continued to spiral out of control. However, let’s take a step back and think about that defensive improvement I outlined above.
It wasn’t pretty to get here but isn’t this what we were all calling for?
We also all called for better special teams. While the PP has left a lot to be desired, I think it’s looked better as of late. It’s currently 26th overall with a 14.5% but has been clipping at 20.8% (5/24) over their last 6 games.
The penalty kill was an area that the Hawks addressed this offseason and knew was an area that had to improve if they were to be successful this season.
It wasn’t going to be hard as they were dead last in 2018-19 with a lowly 72.7%.
This season - after a slow start - the Hawks “killers” have been on fire. The Hawks are now a competent PK group that is 19th in the NHL with an 80% succession rate. I can see that going up as the season progresses.
Up next, the Hawks have a game on Tuesday (Nov 19) vs. Carolina, followed by a date with Tampa Bay on Thursday (Nov 21). Both of these games are at home.
After that, the Hawks have 4 very critical games – back-to-back vs. Dallas and then back-to-back vs. Colorado. If the Hawks can keep up this play, they could make a serious jump in the Central Division.
I will be back later in the week to chat about specific Hawks who are making a difference like some kid named Kirby Dach.
Until then, you can find me in the sun.
See ya out there!