Carolina In My Mind, Alex DeBrincat Team MVP? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Carolina In My Mind, Alex DeBrincat Team MVP? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Maybe just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind

A little James Taylor on this Monday morning.

The Chicago Blackhawks head out on the road for the final time this season with three games against the Carolina Hurricanes this week to close their regular season series. The Blackhawks are technically still alive in the Central Division playoff race, but would need an excess amount of good fortune and stellar play to keep those hopes alive longer than the next 18 hours. With the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators in action tonight, the Blackhawks need a regulation win over Carolina with regulation loses by the Predators and Stars just to live to see another day. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

•   Chicago holds a 2-2-1 record against the Hurricanes this season, being out-scored just 18-17 in their five meetings this season. The teams last played on April 1st, a 4-3 loss by the Blackhawks

•   Chicago is 5-8-1 in their last 14 games since the beginning of April, including their last outing against the Hurricanes. The Blackhawks have lost their last four games in-a-row (0-3-1) with only two of their five wins this month coming in regulation.

•   More bad numbers for the Blackhawks, 10-16-2 since the beginning of March, after having gone 12-7-4 to begin the season and sit in a playoff spot in the Central Division entering March.

•   While he sits tied for fifth in the NHL in scoring with 62 points, Patrick Kane is tied for 24th in the league in scoring since March 1st with 28 points in 28 games. He has nine points in five games against the Hurricanes this season, his second-best point-per-game scoring rate against an opponent this season behind his 2.0 rate against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

•   Kane has been the leading offensive threat for the Blackhawks across the entire season, leading the team with 62 points, but not far behind him now as the season comes to a close is Alex DeBrincat. With 25 goals and 48 points, DeBrincat ranks first on the team in goals and second in points through 47 games in 2021. His 1.02 point-per-game pace is second to Kane’s 1.22 this season (third on the team if we are counting Adam Gaudette’s 1.33 marker in three games).

•   With DeBrincat’s usage on the penalty-kill in the latter half of this season, paired with Kirby Dach to form a power-kill unit on the second group, the 23-year-old’s fourth NHL season has proved to be his best since breaking into the league. He is scoring on a 43-goal pace over an 82-game schedule, which would be a career-high, and would be on pace for 84 points in an 82-game schedule, also a career-high.

•   After having a down year last year. and needing to use 2021 as a proving ground, DeBrincat has shown his value to the Blackhawks goes well beyond the left-circle shot on the powerplay. Is he more valuable than Patrick Kane? Not entirely, but without his production and deployment in the later stages of the season, the Blackhawks might have been out of the playoff picture much faster.

•   Speaking of MVP’s this season, it’s clearly Connor McDavid. Like, unanimous, right?

•  McDavid owns three of the top five seasons based on points per game over the last six years and holds four of the top-15 point-per-game marks in a season. The only other players to hold more than one of the top-15 spots are Nathan MacKinnon (2), Artemi Panarin (2), and Leon Draisaitl (2).

•   McDavid’s 1.78 points per game this season is the best pace since the 1995-96 season when Mario Lemieux (2.30) and Jarmoir Jagr (1.82) terrorized the league with the Pittsburgh Penguins. McDavid’s pace over an 82-game schedule this season would translate to 146 points, the most since 1995-96 with Jagr (149) and Lemieux (161).

•   Just insane numbers this season from McDavid.

•   That’ll do it for today’s bullets, we’ll see you tonight for Blackhawks and Hurricanes at 6:00 p.m. CT!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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