The Chicago Blackhawks managed to avoid elimination Saturday night vs the Detroit Red Wings, but the Hawks still aren’t out of the woods yet. Trailing Detroit 3 games to 2 in the series, Chicago is one loss away from elimination and what can only be viewed as a disappointing postseason for the team who began the season with an unprecedented 21-0-3 record.
The Hawks haven’t faced much adversity this season, but responded well to their biggest test Saturday night by winning 4-1 at the United Center to keep their championship hopes alive. Now they have to bring that same intensity to Detroit in order to force a game 7.
In the history of the NHL only 20 teams have managed to come back and win the series after being down 3 games to 1 out of 229 tries. While the Blackhawks took a good first step Saturday night, mounting a comeback and winning the series would be a significant and historical feat, doing something that only 8.7% of teams have managed to accomplish in this situation.
But the season stats of the Chicago Blackhawks say that this team might just be capable of getting the job done:
In net, goalie Corey Crawford silenced his critics by posting an outstanding 1.94 Goals Against Average alongside a .926 Save Percentage during the regular season. Crawford combined with backup Ray Emery to allow the fewest goals against in the NHL as they propelled the Blackhawks to only the second Presidents trophy in franchise history.
Defensively this team was nearly flawless. Chicago’s penalty kill ranked 3rd in the NHL, killing off 87.2% of their penalties during regular season, while allowing the 4th fewest shots per game at 26.2.
Offensively, no team in the Western Conference was more dangerous. Led by captain Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks scored 155 goals in only 48 games. Toews’ remarkable season extended beyond his 23 goals and 25 assists. (48 pts in 48 games) His play on the defensive end of the ice was equally special, earning him a nomination for the NHL’s Selke award, given to the best defensive forward. Toews’ impressive season has also made him a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and his team certainly needs a leader right now.
The Chicago brings pressure all over the ice, exploiting opponents’ weaknesses while having virtually none of their own. The Hawks find themselves in a historically dangerous position, but if there is any team in the NHL capable of climbing out of this hole, that team would be the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks Game 5 – Live Online Stream, Preview, Predictions: NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 (latinospost.com)
- Blackhawks keep clawing back (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- NHL Playoffs Prediction: Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks Odds: May 25th 2013 (touthouse.com)