Only 8 games since the last State of the Tribe report. Needless to say, not much has changed... Like at all.
Second Quarter Record: 8-0-0 (Overall record: 21-0-3)
Second Quarter Stats: 23GF, 12GA, 15.7% PP, 91.6% PK (Overall stats: 75GF 43GA, 17.8% PP, 89% PK)
Second Quater Summary
"Impressive, amazing, special, remarkable, unbelievable, unreal" Those are just some of the adjectives used to describe what the Blackhawks are doing right now. And we're running out.
After setting the all-time NHL record for longest point streak to start a season against San Jose back on February 22nd, the Hawks have not let up, extending their record by an additional 7 games and set a franchise record 10 straight victories against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
This is beginning to feel like a team that simply cannot be beaten. The skill, speed and depth, combined with the work ethic, character and sheer will and desire to win, is simply too much for teams to handle.
Quenneville deserves credit for getting maximum utility out of players that may not exactly be filling up the scoresheet every night.
But who deserves more credit are the players, who continue to find ways to win, regardless of the situations they find themselves in. The second quarter has been a testament of that, with the Hawks trailing at some point in the game in 6 of the last 8 games and still coming out with two points.
There's really no other way to put it at this point: this team is terrifyingly good.
The Blackhawks now have not one, but two goalies, in the top 5 in the league for GAA and SV%. (Crawford 1.53/.940, Emery 2.02/.925)
They have goals from all but 4 players (Oduya, Bollig, Roszival and Brookbank)
They have 8 players with 5 or more goals and 9 players double-digits in points.
They have allowed the fewest goals in the entire NHL.
They've played half the season without a regulation loss and have captured 45 of a possible 48 points.
Incredible, ridiculous, surreal, stupendous, fantastic...
Anyone have an other adjectives?
There are a couple issue areas: the powerplay continues to be inconsistent and the injuries are starting to hit, with Sharp and Shaw possibly missing some time. I would expect one or more players from Rockford getting a call-up.
The Hawks will inevitably run into the wrong team at the wrong time, ending what is quite a magical run. But there's no denying what the Hawks have done thus far is unheard of.
Second Quarter Standouts
Again, everyone deserves to be here, but I'm going to focus on five players.
First the goalies. Corey Crawford and Ray Emery appear almost impenetrable. Over the last 8 games, the Hawks have given up 12 goals... 12 goals in 8 games! Each goalie had 4 starts in that span, so its not as if one guy is shouldering the load. This is joint effort. No doubt the defense deserves an insurmountable amount of credit, but the Hawks are finally getting the goaltending they need to be considered Stanley Cup favorites.
Second, I want to focus on the third line of Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw, which has really been the Hawks' best like over the past several games and is arguably the best third line in hockey right now. They're hard on the forecheck, forcing turnovers, dominating the play down low and along the boards and generating chances from the cycle game. They've combined for 9 goals over the past 8 games.
Second Quarter MVP: Viktor Stalberg
Pretty close, but I'm going to go with Viking. 7 points in the last 8 games and currently riding a 4-game point streak. Stalberg has shown tremendous improvement in many aspects of his game. He's much more confident with the puck and is making plays now that would have been turnovers a year or two ago. Plus he's starting to finally use his size a little more to create space and win battles and go to those contested areas. Good on Vik. Hope he keeps it up.
Statistics to date: