Chicago Blackhawks: First line excelling to start the season

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

The Chicago Blackhawks have won three of their first four games to start the 2017-18 season and the first line has been all business.

Through the first four games of the 2017-18 regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks look like a completely different team from the one we saw last April. Thank God.

The seemingly re-energized and refocused group has begun this season with a flurry of goals–some were highlight goals and others were purely the result of hard work and a smart brand of hockey.

In fact, in the first four games, the Blackhawks have erupted to score 21 goals. That’s right. 21 goals in four games played, which begs the question: where was this last April? A painful loss, sure. But, fortunately, that bitter playoff defeat is in the past and will remain there.

As of now, Blackhawks fans can certainly be impressed with how their team has played to start the season.

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They dominated the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, dominated the Columbus Blue Jackets and gutted out a win against the Montreal Canadiens, where they were outshot 42-25.

Perhaps even more impressive than their 3-0-1 start is the consistent level of play from the Blackhawks’ first line. The first line consisting of Brandon Saad (LW), Jonathan Toews (C) and Richard Panik (RW) has a combined 18 points.

Panik appears to have picked up right from where he left off last season where he earned a career-high 44 points–22 goals and 22 assists. To begin this season, the right-winger has scored three goals and added three assists for six points in four games played.

And, wow, how great is it to have Saad back? It’s phenomenal.

His presence at both ends of the ice cannot be overstated. Just as important, he has seamlessly fit back into the organization and roster without even a minor hiccup. In the first four games, Saad has scored five goals and added two assists for seven points.

And then we have the captain, Toews, who has looked much better to start the season than he did a year prior. Perhaps it’s the readdition of Saad? Or, it could be due to his divergent path of training in the offseason. Whatever the case, he looks good and is skating exceptionally well. Four games into the season and Toews has scored two goals and added three assists for five points.

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The first line has looked really strong through the first four games played. And that’s a breath of fresh air for fans who had been yearning for competitive hockey since April.