The Chicago Blackhawks went 2-0-1 in week three with their lone defeat in a shootout against division rival St. Louis at home. The Hawks now shift their focus to week four of the NHL season with three games starting on Tuesday night with two road games in Florida on Tuesday and Thursday before hosting their new division rival Minnesota Wild.
1. The Hawks went 2-0-1 in week three with two wins and a loss including two shootout games. After jumping out early on opponents the Hawks have not been able to score a third-period goal, what do you attribute this to?
Campbell: Not sure if anything can really be attributed to it. Hockey, albeit a sport of incredible skill, is also a sport where timing may have the greatest impact on the game. It’s just bad timing. But it is something that could turn into a concern if the trend continues.
Bender: I think teams naturally come out stronger and push harder to create scoring chances when trailing in the third period. The Hawks have played ahead most of the time, so they haven’t shown that killer instinct to close it out.
Burn: I think it has some to do with they get tired. They aren’t exactly into the swing of things yet and they have been getting a little winded I think. Also, mental breakdowns are a part of it as well. They’ve had some chances late, but haven’t really capitalized while they’ve been allowing their opponents to take advantage of mistakes they make.
Cain: It is an odd thing to happen and it can be attributed to the young talent not jellying yet with the Hawks’ veterans. Sending Joakim Nordstrom down to AHL Rockford, who had many defensive lapses should help this.
2. Winger Brandon Saad and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson have quietly racked up six (2G, 4A) and five (0G, 5A) points respectively this season. Whose fast start is more impressive and why?
Campbell: Saad. We saw signs of this towards the end of last season, but this season, he has taken his game to the next level. Being on the same line as Andrew Shaw this season has definitely benefited Saad.
Bender: Not only has Hjalmarsson recorded five points this year, he also leads the team with a +6 and has moved up to the juggled front line with Jonathan Toews and Ben Smith.
Burn: Saad’s. He’s not a big name and kind of takes a back seat to guys like Sharp, Kane, and Toews, but he has been excellent in the early stages of the season so far.
Cain: Saad’s start is more impressive due to his young age – 20. The shot blocking from Hjalmarsson is normal while the move to the top line with Toews and Ben Smith as boosted his point total.
3. The Hawks currently have a 20-percent power-play conversion average, what can they do to score more on their power-play?
Campbell: Attack. I have always felt that the Hawks try to get to pretty win they are on the offense. There is no need to be that complex. Attack with simplicity and that should improve their power-play.
Bender: Just keep producing opportunities. The power play is already better than last year’s, so that’s an encouraging sign.
Burn: They weren’t very good on the power play last year either and I think it’s just because they don’t possess the puck as much as they should during it. I feel they’ve been settling for some shots they’ve taken on power plays when they could be waiting it out longer for a better look at the net.
Cain: The defenseman need to crash the net and shield the opposing goaltender to have the opportunity for redirects and rebounds.