For the first time this season, the Blackhawks are on a three-game winning streak after defeating the Avalanche 2-1 on Friday night. With Chicago rolling over three division opponents in three games, we take a look at the team’s trends heading toward Sunday’s game against Florida.
This is the first three-game winning streak the Blackhawks have assembled this season. And the wins all came against teams either in a playoff spot (Nashville and Colorado) or in the hunt (Dallas).
Oh, and all against Central Division opponents. It’s always a good night when you’re beating teams in your division.
Things are starting to click for Chicago under head coach Jeremy Colliton. The defensive pairing of Connor Murphy and Carl Dahlstrom looks good for the minutes they’re playing, Alex DeBrincat continues to light the lamp and they’ve only allowed one third-period goal during this stretch.
For the Avalanche, the game was ripe for the picking. The Blackhawks came in on the back end of a back-to-back road trip, with a defense that is notorious for giving up scoring chances. Colorado also entered the game with the strongest line in the NHL with Mikko Rantanen, Nathan McKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog poised to light the lamp at any given moment.
Enter, Collin Delia.
The 24-year-old stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced, including a pair of saves in the final five minutes of the game to preserve the win. Friday’s win was a “goalie win” in every sense of the definition, and to have one come from a guy who is making his NHL season debut is a sign of good things to come.
A big contribution to any team that’s stringing together wins is a successful penalty kill. During the three-game span, the Blackhawks have kept opposing power plays scoreless through 10 attempts.
While it’s unhealthy for fans to expect the special teams to render opponents scoreless forever, a positive jump in penalty kill percentage is a great thing to see.
Giving up scoring chances
It’s time to talk about the defense in front of Delia. The Blackhawks allowed 74 total shots, including 36 on goal against the 41 they took. In fact, the Avs led in total shots on goal, even-strength shots and scoring chances. A “goalie win” is also a glaring reminder the defensive corps needs some re-tooling in their own end in order to avoid over-working their goaltenders during the course of a game.
Colorado’s lone goal on Friday night was fueled by poor positioning from Forsling below the goal line. With only seven shots across the last five games and some costly missed assignments leading to goals for the opposition, the young defenseman is becoming more of a liability than a weapon.
Plenty of penalties
In Friday’s game, there were a total of five penalties that put Chicago at a man disadvantage during key points in the first and third periods. Thankfully, Delia was able to hold the Avs at bay through those 10 minutes.
Taking five penalties in one game is a tough task for any team to combat. Less of this, please.