These three-day layoffs without hockey are getting harder to stomach. Luckily it’s becoming warmer outside and the days are lasting longer so my mood is getting increasingly better. It also helps that the three-day waits aren’t met with the dread of another Chicago Blackhawks game at the end of them, but rather excitement. I’m excited for the Blackhawks to march into March with confidence and a Central Division playoff spot in their minds.
• They are definitely going to need that confidence right off the bat, as they get set to face the Tampa Bay Lightning for three games in four days starting on Thursday night. The Blackhawks will face the Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes (the three teams above them in the Division) a combined ten times over the next 14 games in March.
Blackhawks improve to 11-3-2 against teams that currently are .500 or worse. Their next 11 games are against opponents with a combined .693 points percentage.
— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) March 1, 2021
• The Blackhawks had a highly successful month of February, going 9-3-1 in 13 games. Chicago finished with the second-most points in the standings earned in the month (19), tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs (9-2-1) and only one point behind the Lightning (10-3-0). The Blackhawks also ranked third in the league with 46 goals scored and sixth in PDO (1.035) for the month.
• A lot of their success in February can be attributed to Patrick Kane.
Patrick Kane led all #NHL players with 24 points in February (7 goals, 17 assists in 13 games). That matches the highest monthly point total of his career and the highest monthly point total by any @NHLBlackhawks player over the last 30 seasons. #Blackhawks
— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) March 1, 2021
• Kane ranks second in the NHL this season with 34 points, trailing only Connor McDavid (40) for the league-lead. Kane does lead the NHL with 24 points at even-strength this season, two points ahead of McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner in second-place.
14 seasons and Patrick Kane (@88PKane) is still going strong.
— NHL (@NHL) March 1, 2021
• Having one of the best seasons of his career based on production rate, Kane is squarely in the middle of the Hart Trophy race this season as league MVP. He just hit the 400-goal mark on Sunday night and is only adding to an already Hall of Fame caliber career. The Blackhawks are going to be riding his production through the rest of the season and possibly into the postseason.
• Kane scored his 400th goal wearing the brand new Adidas Reverse Retro sweaters on Sunday night. The Blackhawks will wear them twice more this season on March 28 against the Nashville Predators and on April 8 against the Dallas Stars. They also announced today that they will be wearing their 2019 Winter Classic sweaters this season three times! I subscribe to the notion of “if you look good, you play good.” These styles look good.
• According to PointsBet, Patrick Kane is at 7/1 odds to win league MVP this season, trailing Auston Matthews (3/1) and Connor McDavid (20/23). The Blackhawks are 18/1 to win the Central Division and 40/1 to win the Stanley Cup, same as the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, and New York Rangers. Kevin Lankinen has the second-best odds (5/1) to win the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, behind favorite Kirill Kaprizov (1/2).
• As for the Jack Adams award for NHL Coach of the Year, it might be a very interesting group of contenders when the season is over…
Pretty wild that the two leading candidates for the Jack Adams might be Joel Quenneville and the man who replaced him, Jeremy Colliton.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 2, 2021
• Want some more stats and figures?
Blackhawks' home goals by period:
With the media behind the Shoot Once end, we've only seen up close 9 of the 41 goals. A crazy stat, that only matters to about a dozen people.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 1, 2021
• I don’t know, Ben, I find that interesting.
• About as interesting as this Blackhawks themed sand art…
Can't. Look. Away.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 1, 2021
• Speaking of art, as Lake Michigan unfreezes, the pictures of the water re-emerging through the river and on the shoreline is one of my underrated best reminders of Spring coming back. That also applies to making the aforementioned Reverse Retro sweaters really pop!
— Craig Shimala (@cshimala) March 1, 2021
• What would have really popped was hockey twitter is Anaheim Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras scored his first career NHL goal like this:
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 2, 2021
• He’s so good and is going to be a problem for the rest of the league to deal with.
• Problems you say? The Calgary Flames were having all kinds of them during warmups last night.
What in the world was happening with the Flames during warmup? 🤨 pic.twitter.com/RdNdvApUdM
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) March 2, 2021
• I still cannot understand why players don’t wear helmets during warmups. With all those pucks flying at every direction, I would be so worried about taking one in the chops at every turn.