The Blackhawks Are Decent? Special Teams Darlings, Keruffle In Columbus, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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The Blackhawks Are Decent? Special Teams Darlings, Keruffle In Columbus, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Monday after the Super Bowl should be a National holiday. Who are we kidding here? The Chicago Blackhawks get a day off after getting an overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday afternoon, and I hope they enjoyed their distanced Super Bowl party after the game. They earned it.

•   With their overtime win against Dallas, Chicago has moved their record this season to 5-4-4 through 13 games. It marked the first overtime or shootout win for the Blackhawks this season after dropping their first four decisions in extra time. Over their last ten games, the Blackhawks have earned a point in nine of them, going 5-1-4 since dropping the first three games of the season in regulation.

•   For the first time this season, the Blackhawks have more wins than any other result in the standings, meaning, in hockey terms, they have a “winning record.” Although they still have lost eight games and won only five this season, but you know, the pity points still count.

•   The game against Dallas was a real testament to the early-season observation that this Blackhawks group doesn’t have quit in them. After getting their first goal of the game called back, they persevered and found the next goal of the game. Then after Malcolm Subban gave up a soft goal in the third period to tie the game, they kept up their pressure and forced overtime where they eventually found the game-winner. I’m not sure if the Blackhawks team of the past two seasons would be where this team is right now without the buy-in from the current roster. Imagine this team mentality and effort with a healthy Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach. We might be realistically thinking about the postseason. But at this point, we’re still not.

•   Chicago is currently in a three-way tie for second place in the Central Division based on total points with 14, same as the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. The problem is that Carolina, Florida, and division-leading Tampa Bay have all played nine games, while the Blackhawks have played 13. So in reality, based on points percentage, Chicago still is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture sitting in fifth-place with a .538 points percentage.

•   But that’s far better than we all probably expected them to be. Those early season doubts from the outside have made their way to the Blackhawks and it has motivated them to get to this point in the season.

•   I’ve had my doubts, and still don’t see this team making the playoffs. BUT, I no longer dread this season. I’m excited to see where this team can go and how these players continue to develop. They’re not great, but they’re not terrible. They are, dare I say, kind of decent.

•   Chicago’s special teams units have been awesome this year. The penalty-kill ranks 11th in the NHL with an 82.2 percent kill-rate, while the powerplay remains at the top of the league with a 36.6 percent success-rate, which ranks fourth in the NHL.

•   The Blackhawks shut down the NHL’s previous best powerplay team on Sunday, killing off all three Dallas powerplays. Chicago has killed 19 of their last 20 penalties faced. That’s awesome. They also scored again on the powerplay on Sunday, marking 11 games out of 13 this season with at least one powerplay goal.

•   Something you may have missed on Sunday as you were watching the Blackhawks beat the Stars and then preparing for the Super Bowl is what went down in Columbus with the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes. Aaron Protzline of The Athletic has the full story, I suggest you check it out. The short version breaks down to a goal allowed, that shouldn’t have been, by someone who has no authority to make goal calls, and the ensuing chaos of trying to set a new precedent in the NHL. It’s wild.

•   Finally, take 18 seconds to watch Alexander Ovechkin be an absolute stud:

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.