After five straight wins, the Hawks ended their win streak the other night against Ottawa, losing 4-3. However, Chicago’s offense in the last four games has been firing on all cylinders, scoring 18 goals. Since Crawford has been out, Darling has proven he can be Chicago’s starting goaltender. The Hawks are 22-9-4 and are on a hot streak in scoring, and given how many rookies they have on the team, it’s something that not only makes fans hopeful for the rest of the season, but for future seasons as well.
As I’ve been watching, it seems like Artemi Panarin scores on his one-timer at least once every other game. One of the most beautiful shots in the NHL today comes from the end of his stick and is typically set up by the other half of the duo: Patrick Kane. The two are similar to how Kane and Toews were just a few seasons ago, only both are snipers whereas in the past Toews was primarily setting up Kane. Toews would get his goals in whenever Kane wasn’t available or he had an opportunity, but it’s a double threat when you have snipers at either side of the netminder. Toews is a playmaker, he primarily sets up his teammates for goals. That’s his unselfish captain mindset. Not saying Kane or Panarin are selfish, but Toews would typically looking for someone else to score unless he just decided to undress the defense himself, which he did on many occasions. Kane and Panarin can each bulge the twine at any give point with any shot, and that is a devastating effect on the scoreboard.
With Toews returning to the lineup and Crawford expected to return soon, I see the team meshing even better than before with their leader back on the ice and their (mostly) solid defense.
Many of the rookies have been pulling their weight and proving themselves. Ryan Hartman is the leading youngster on the team with 12 points and Hinostroza is behind him on the rookie scale with 8 points. Both have shown great potential not only within the Blackhawks organization, but in the NHL. Both have made some plays that were heads up plays that a rookie wouldn’t be expected to make and I’m sure Coach Q has taken notice.
The Blackhawks take on the Avalanche this Friday, a team that seems to be struggling this season. Colorado is 11-19-1 so far, but they are not to be taken lightly. Colorado tends to be a rather resilient team, especially whenever they are opposite Chicago. With Crow expected to return and the explosive offense that the Hawks have been demonstrating, it should be an exciting game to watch.