The Chicago Blackhawks have played 10 games in the 2013-2014 NHL season and in those 10 games they have posted a 6-1-3 record. It's safe to say that they haven't suffered from a "Cup hangover", or have they? Although they have a solid record to start the season, it hasn't been all good for the Blackhawks. The team has given up three 2-0 third period leads this season, one resulting in a loss and the others the Blackhawks winning in a shootout. It's nice to see the team get off to fast starts, but they need to start putting teams away while they have the chance.
Being the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions, there is an added pressure this season. Not only are there expectations to repeat their performance, but every team in the NHL will be trying to dethrone them. So far they have done a nice job, as the currently sit second in their division, trailing the Colorado Avalanche by one point.
Let's take a look at some notes on the Blackhawks through 10 games of play this season:
- The Blackhawks have played the majority of their games against the Eastern Conference, going 5-0-2. Their only losses coming against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- The Blackhawks are 1-1-1 against the Western Conference, losing both times to Division rival, the St. Louis Blues. It's safe to say if the Blackhawks play anyone other than the Lightning or the Blues, they have a high chance of winning.
- Forward Patrick Kane leads the team with five goals and three assists. The 2013 Conn Smythe winner is picking up right where he left off.
- Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson leads the way on the blue line, tallying six assists on the season. Hjalmarsson was signed to a five-year contract extension in the offseason and is playing worthy of his new contract.
- Corey Crawford has been solid in net for the Blackhawks. Crawford has a record of 5-1-2, to go along with a 2.04 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
- The team lost defenseman Michael Kostka for 4-6 weeks due to a lower-body injury. Kostka was rotating playing time with Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank.
- The penalty killing unit continues to be a problem for the Blackhawks. They currently rank last (32nd) in the NHL, killing penalties only 70.97% of the time. The team has given up nine goals on 31 attempts. With the loss of Michael Frolik, the team has rotated players next to Marcus Kruger in hopes of fixing the problem.
- A major story for the Blackhawks early on has been the consistent line alterations. Coach Joel Quenneville has mixed up the lines on several occasions to try and re-ignite a spark in the team's offense.
There are a lot of storylines early in the season and more are sure to come up as the season goes by. What has been your take on the Blackhawks season so far? Are you happy with their record? What has been your favorite moment of the season thus far?
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