Few pundits and fans figured the Chicago Blackhawks would start the season at 6-0 and quickly become not only the best team in the Western Conference but in the entire league (tied for first with the undefeated San Jose Sharks). This is essentially the same team that got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last season by the Phoenix Coyotes and the same team that was looked at as an average playoff team at best.
Through six games, the Blackhawks have been anything but average. They have been exceeding expectations in all areas of their game and are looking like a dangerous hockey club that could end up making noise in May and June.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three main reasons why the Blackhawks have been unbeatable so far this season.
1. Patrick Kane has matured
This past off-season, and even some other off-seasons, Blackhawks superstar forward Patrick Kane showed that he was still an immature youngster.
This season, however, it appears that Kane has come back to the Blackhawks a mature man and one that is out to prove just how special a hockey player can be. Through six games, Kane has done that and more for his hockey club.
Kane currently leads the Blackhawks in scoring with two goals and seven assists for nine points in six games. Kane also finds himself in the top 10 in the league when it comes to assists and points so far.
If Kane can keep this up, he might just help his team lift their second Cup in three years.
2. A high-powered offence is in effect
Kane is not the only one producing for the Blackhawks in the early going.
When healthy, Marian Hossa is one of the top players in the game, and right now he is just that. In six games, Hossa has five goals and three assists for eight points and looks like he has a ton of hockey left in him.
Of course, the team also has the likes of “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews, who has three goals and three assists for six points, as well as Patrick Sharp, who has two goals and four assists for six points.
As of this writing, the team is fourth in the league in goals scored with 22 and is averaging 3.67 goals per game.
3. The play of goaltender Corey Crawford
Going into this season, goaltending appeared to be a question mark for the Blackhawks with the likes of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery between the pipes.
In the early going, however, the goaltending has been terrific, thanks to the play of the 28-year-old Crawford. In five games this season, Crawford is 5-0 with a 1.78 GAA (seventh in the league) and a .933 save percentage (sixth in the league).
After struggling in his sophomore season last year, Crawford has come back a different goaltender. He plays with a lot more confidence, understands where he has to be in his crease in order to be in position to make saves, and he is not hurting his team as much by allowing soft goals.
If Crawford and the rest of his Blackhawks’ teammates can keep this play up going forward, it may not be long before they witness and experience a scene like this again: