Now that our long holiday weekend is over and most of us are back to the grind, let's take a look back at the successful circus trip. The trip did not get off to best start with a 5-1 loss at the Avalanche, but the Hawks would rattle off wins in each of the next six wins. The annual November road trip used to be a nightmare for the Hawks but under Joel Quenneville they were 10-9-1 before this season. The 6-1 record posted this year is by far the best circus trip the Hawks have had. Since 1980, the Blackhawks have only had four or more wins on the cirus trip seven times and three of those have been with Q behind the bench. The Hawks won five games in 1982 and 1990 but this was the first six win trip the team has had.
The Blackhawks showed how scary good they can be when they want to be. There were times were it seemed they were spotting teams about 40 to 50 minutes of the game to try and beat them only to hit the gas and prove that they couldn't. The Hawks outscored their opponents 24 to 15 on the seven game trip and 23 to 10 during the six game winning streak. 18 of the 21 skaters that dressed on the trip picked up at least one point. The only players not to make the score sheet were Brandon Pirri, Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival. The Hawks got goals from 11 different players and their six game winning goals came from five different players. The goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta stood tall as well. After giving up eight goals in Colorado and Winnipeg, Crow and Raanta only gave up seven in the final five stops. They combined for a 2.12 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. Raanta picked up his first two NHL wins as well.
Three Stars of the Circus Trip
#3 Andrew Shaw - Mutt had himself quite a nice trip doing what he does best; scoring dirty goals, playing physical and trolling the opposition. Shaw doubled his season total for goals by scoring four on the trip and added one assist as well. There are times when I question his brains but I will never question his stones.
#2 Duncan Keith - Duncs has been fantastic this season and the last seven games have been no exception. Keith racked up nine assists on the trip to bring his season total up to 23. He leads all defensemen in assists and is tied for fourth in the entire league. Keith has as many assists as Sidney Crosby right now. The NHL took notice by naming Keith the Third Star of the Week Monday morning.
#1 Patrick Kane - We have been waiting for years for the day Patrick Kane becomes an elite player. That wait was over when the Blackhawks dropped the puck last January in Los Angeles. What Kaner has done so far this season has been just sick. Even though his 12 game point streak ended in Dallas he still had five goals and four assists over the seven games. He scored the game winning goals in Edmonton and Calgary. He is scoring goals off of rebounds, off of defensemen from below the goal line and even on no look backhand shots. Patrick Kane has been on mission the last 11 months and it has been damn fun to watch.