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Saad, Smith Up, Shaw, Nylander Down

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Whereas there are definitely a whole lot of issues to be grateful for as a Chicago Blackhawks fan, the best way they ended the month of November isn’t one in all them. Regardless of ending the month with a 7-5-Three file, a notable enchancment from October, Chicago went 1-Four-1 of their final six video games to complete out the month. After splitting a home-and-home with the red-hot Dallas Stars, together with a 2-1 shootout loss and a Three-Zero win, the Blackhawks had one other home-and-home with the Colorado Avalanche during which they weren’t so lucky, dropping 5-2 at dwelling and 7-Three on the street. 

Chicago is 10-11-5 this season and presently sits in seventh place, lifeless final, within the stacked Central Division. It wasn’t what number of followers envisioned the season going, and after a glimmer of hope and progress within the type of a four-game successful streak, the momentum has stalled but once more. There have been loads of issues we’d prefer to overlook about this previous week, however there are additionally some positives to remove. Right here’s a take a look at who’s rising and who’s falling after a tumultuous week in Chicago.

Trending Up

Brandon Saad

Saad is quietly placing collectively one other high quality season. He’s fourth on the group in factors with 16 and has scored eight targets, second on the group behind Patrick Kane. He added two targets and an help to his totals this previous week, together with a aim within the win in opposition to Dallas and a shorthanded aim in Saturday’s loss to Colorado.

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad strikes the puck previous Winnipeg Jets heart Mathieu Perreault (AP Photograph/Matt Marton)

Saad began the season on the dominant Saad, David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik line, and has continued to provide outcomes regardless of the place he has lined up. He has a 52.9 Corsi For % (CF%) on the season and has even contributed a 47.eight% faceoff win share. There weren’t a whole lot of vibrant spots in Chicago final week, however Saad was positively one in all them.

Zack Smith

It has been a comparatively quiet season for Smith, however he has made essentially the most of his alternatives of late. He scored his first aim of the season in opposition to the Avalanche on Friday night time and added an help in Saturday’s recreation.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan celebrates with heart Zack Smith (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports activities)

Smith’s line additionally performed an integral position within the win in opposition to the Stars together with a 77.eight CF%, a 6-Zero shot benefit, and no high-danger possibilities allowed in simply over seven minutes of ice time collectively. He had a giant week on the faceoff dot, going 12-for-20 for a 60% success fee. He has solely performed in 19 of Chicago’s video games this season however that quantity is more likely to develop if he retains doing the little issues proper and makes a distinction the place it issues.

Patrick Kane

What extra may be stated about Kane that hasn’t already been stated? He’s Chicago’s greatest offensive participant and has been one of many few constantly thrilling items of this group, even through the down durations. He’s presently the proprietor of a 15-game level streak, together with targets in all three video games final week, and was simply named the NHL’s third star of November with 24 factors on 11 targets and 13 assists in 15 video games. He has 14 extra factors than anybody else on the Blackhawks. Even when his group appears to be like lifeless, the person affectionately often known as “Showtime” continues to indicate a pulse and provides followers one thing to cheer for. 

Trending Down

Andrew Shaw

Shaw was his personal worst enemy final week. Regardless of including an help within the win over Dallas, he completed the week with 13 penalty minutes, together with 9 in Friday’s recreation, and a minus-Three score. He added 9 hits within the three video games however didn’t present a lot else in the best way of assist.

Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a aim. (Photograph by Stacy Revere/Getty Photographs)

The Blackhawks have been at their greatest when Shaw stays out of hassle since he gives them a lot two-way worth. Sadly, that wasn’t the case in opposition to the Avalanche, particularly in Friday’s recreation. 

Alex Nylander

The up-and-down saga of Alex Nylander continues. Similar to Shaw, Nylander had an help within the Dallas win however fully disappeared in opposition to Colorado with a minus-Four score and two hits to his identify throughout the 2 video games. In his final seven video games, he has tallied one level, three hits, and a minus-5 score. Not precisely what the Blackhawks had been hoping for once they traded for him.

First Interval Woes

After such a giant win and taking three of 4 factors in opposition to a tricky Dallas group, it’s laborious to acknowledge how shortly the Blackhawks appeared to fall off of a cliff and kill all of their momentum. Nothing showcases that greater than their first interval woes in opposition to the Avalanche. Chicago allowed three targets within the first durations of each video games, together with three within the span of three:15 on Saturday.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and defenseman Brent Seabrook (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports activities)

To place that into perspective, of their final 24 video games Chicago solely allowed 15 complete targets within the first interval. Merely put, they’re digging themselves right into a gap that they will’t crawl out of.

Even one in all Chicago’s greatest gamers, Robin Lehner, struggled in his begin in opposition to Colorado, permitting 5 targets on 23 pictures earlier than he was pulled. As he was leaving the ice, the well-spoken goaltender was seen shouting one thing at his bench. 

Robin Lehner on what he stated to the bench as he was leaving the sport:”I do not know precisely what I stated, I most likely stated, ‘We’ve to get up.’ I feel my monitor file speaks for itself — it is not directed in direction of any individual or anybody … it is embarrassing. We’ve to get up.— Jimmy Greenfield (@jcgreenx) December 1, 2019Lehner’s candor has been one of many few constantly refreshing issues about this Blackhawks squad, and his message was spot on. There’s a whole lot of expertise on this group and it’s time to get up.

Chicago will get an opportunity to proper the ship and get again on monitor beginning Monday at dwelling in opposition to the St. Louis Blues, adopted by back-to-back away video games in opposition to the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils on Thursday and Friday. 

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