Get your cash out,’cause it’s time to place your bets! Who will the Chicago Blackhawks finally lose to in regulation?
This version of the Chicago Blackhawks have definitely looked special, so far. The hardcore group of fans will disagree pointing out some of the flaws in their defensive play and maybe a turnover here and turnover there, but no team ever plays perfectly all the time. Blackhawks have a job and that job is to grab as many points as possible. In the first 13 games they have done just that, collecting a 10-0-3 record.
They have been getting stellar offensive numbers as they scored Western Conference leading 44 goals and are rocking the league best goal differential of +16. The goaltending was the big question coming into this season and so far this question has been answered. The answer is…don’t worry ’bout it, it’s all good.
So who will take down the might Hawks? Let’s take a look at their next few games and place our money on the team who might be able to grab a W over the Hawks in regulation.
The first match up comes up against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks at one point shared something in common with the Hawks and that was the donut in the regulation loss column and a fierce offense. But that was in January. Come February and the Sharks look like, well, a fish out of water. They can’t score goals – kinda important. The once fierce PP is now 2 for last 35 opportunities compared to 12-32 start. The Hawks should be the favorite here as they have already stumped on the Sharks on February 5th with the score of 5-3.
After the Sharks come last year’s Stanley Cup champs, LA Kings. If you think the Sharks have issues, LA Kings have a great lake of them. Not only are they having a hurt of a time trying to score, but they are not getting the Vezina/Conn Smythe goaltending from Jonathon Quick. The issues need to be sorted out and trying to do it against a hot team like the Hawks could be difficult. We will see what LA team shows up here – the Stanley Cup dominant champion or the team currently with the longest Stanley Cup hangover of all time.
This is turning out to be quite a homestead for the Hawks. They receive another guest from the West, Vancouver Canucks. This will be a very good match-up, because as of this writing, both teams are winning and getting points. Canucks started a bit slow but now have full head of steam (winners of 6 in a row) fueled by the stellar play of their goaltenders. The controversy (Should Luo stay or should he go?) turned into clutch assets is helping the team keep on winning while the Sedins figure out how to score goals in plural amounts.
The Hawks see another visit from the Sharks. It will be a nice rematch for the both teams. The Blackhawks could very well still be without a regulation loss and the Sharks could still be struggling.
In my eyes the Hawks will not be able to sweep their Western rivals’ whether it is due to fatigue or sheer odds that a puck bounce decides the game here or there. While the schedule does get a bit lighter with Columbus and Edmonton coming up, I would not be surprised to see Columbus be the team to down the mighty Hawks (Remember the shellacking they put on the Sharks?) if they are still yet to lose in regulation, though I wouldn’t bet on the streak lasting that long.
In the end, my bet is that the Sharks take down the Hawks in regulations on Friday February 17th. Sharks are oozing to explode and Crawford is due for a bad game. My money is on the Sharks.
Feel free to leave your comments below and follow me on twitter @lastwordonNHL and the site @lastwordonsport
Photo credit: bridgetds via photopin cc