Who was good, who was bad, and the in-between on another week on the Good Ship Blackhawks.
The Dizzying Highs
Brandon Saad – In a week where your team only scores four goals that involved beating an actual goalie (so not Kahun’s empty-netter) and you’ve got two of them, I’d say you’re making a difference. Saad also spent the week playing on three different lines. His Corsi-relative an scoring-change-relative numbers against the Kings and Wild were miles ahead of his teammates, even if most of those games were spent with the nuclear option of Kane and Toews. But hey, if they’re Khalil Mack-ing people around the ice (it’s a verb now), no one’s going to care. His goal last night is actually what you think of when you think of a Saad goal, streaking past a confused d-man who only made one wrong half move, holding him off with barely a thought, and getting around the goalie. Yes, maybe it should happen more often. But it’s happening now, and maybe it will continue. Let’s just be happy about it, all right? All right.
The Terrifying Lows
Duncan Keith – If you’re going by metrics, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook spent the week getting their brains beaten in by whatever opposition was on the ice. They didn’t top a 40% share of attempts in any of the three games, nor in scoring chance share, and on Friday against L.A.–who are staffed by interns on quaaludes, essentially–they managed an 18% mark in scoring chance share. In the words of Muhammad Ali, “THAT’S BAD!” And not like he meant it. If you want to be fair, and you do because this is Duncan Keith we’re talking about, he and Seabrook have been taking more defensive zone shifts than usual. And their ice-flipping days are probably over. But the Hawks also probably need something more than them turtling when their on the ice if they’re going to go anywhere. Pairing them together isn’t helping, but we also saw what happened when Keith was paired with someone he was supposed to take a backseat to in the aggressive department. I’m not sure what the answers are here, and whatever they are and are discovered I’m fairly sure Keith isn’t going to like them.
The Creamy Middles
Corey Crawford – Hmm, Crow’s back to a .922 SV%. The Hawks took five of the six points on offer in his last three starts when he put up only a .981 SV%, including his first shutout of the season. Isn’t that strange how that works. But this is what you expect of Corey, or at least what we expect, given that he’s been, y’know, one of the five best goalies in the league for like five seasons now. Sure, don’t make him have to come up with 39 saves every night. But this team isn’t going to get him down around 27 or 28 a night either. They’ll go as far as he does. Like this, that’s five of six points.