Blackhawks

For Blackhawks, it’s not how you start… well, actually it is

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USA TODAY

For Blackhawks, it’s not how you start… well, actually it is

Forget the old sports cliché it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.  In the NHL this season, the team that scores first goes on to win 65% of the time. It’s even more daunting for the team that wears the Indian Head sweater. The Hawks opponents have won 88% of the time when they score first this season.

The Blackhawks latest slide has seen them playing from behind almost all of the time. They have allowed the game’s first goal in seven straight and have gone on to lose six of those contests. Not only are they giving up the first goal, it’s usually coming in the opening minutes. Over the last seven games, the Hawks have allowed 5 opening game goals in 2 minutes and 11 seconds or less.

Back in the cup winning years, it wasn’t uncommon to see a couple slow starts each week. But, somewhere,  in the second or third period, the Blackhawks would find their game, flip the switch, and end up with two points. Those days are gone. This team doesn’t have the offensive firepower to rally from two or three goal deficits like they used to.

“It comes down simply to not being ready to play, that’s the biggest thing.” Patrick Kane said. “You’ve seen in the past several games, we are down and it’s tough to comeback in this league,  teams can “D” it up pretty good.”  “It all comes down to being ready to play and making sure we are dictating the pace right away, instead of waiting around feeling out the game.”

The Hawks hit the road this week for back-to-back games against Anaheim and Vegas. This will be the second meeting against these two Pacific teams. As you may have guessed, the club that scored first went on to win the initial meeting.

Brandon Saad scored a power play goal five minutes into their game against Anaheim in October, which led to a Hawks 3-1 win at the United Center. While the Golden Knights scored two minutes into their game against the Hawks last week and went on to win 8-3. 

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Blackhawks are now tied for the final playoff spot in the West

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Blackhawks are now tied for the final playoff spot in the West

Mark Carman and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.

0:00- Duke and the worst teams in the NBA breathe a big sigh of relief after Zion Williamson suffers just a Grade 1 knee sprain. After dodging this bullet, should Zion shut it down and prepare for the draft?

7:00- After seeing what happened to Zion, there have been more calls for the NCAA to pay players more than just tuition. Will it ever happen?

10:00- The Blackhawks are now tied for the final playoff spot in the West. Does Stan Bowman need to make a big trade before Monday's deadline?

12:30- Manny Machado is a San Diego Padres. Patrick Finley is huge Padres fan. He gives his reaction to the big free agent signing.

16:00- WGCI's Leon Rogers joins the guys on the panel to talk about Zion's injury, the Bears offseason plans. They also discuss the controversial finish in the Georgia-Mississippi State game when a stuffed animal decided the outcome.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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A look at how far Blackhawks have come to battle themselves into playoff picture

A look at how far Blackhawks have come to battle themselves into playoff picture

For a brief moment on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks found themselves sitting in the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference. Then the Avalanche won, bumping them out because Colorado owns a higher points percentage by having a game in hand.

But it was enough for the city of Chicago to look at the standings and go to sleep wondering: How the heck did the Blackhawks get here?

Think about this: Just 32 days ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were in the basement of the entire National Hockey League. Dead last. And now they're knocking on the door.

To put it all into perspective, let's visualize it. Here's a look at the Blackhawks' day-by-day playoff percentage change this season, courtesy of sportsclubsstats.com:

At one point, the odds were as low as 0.05 percent, which came on Dec. 16 after a 7-3 loss to San Jose. It eventually reached 1.43 percent on Jan. 6 following a 5-3 victory over Pittsburgh, but regressed back to 0.3 percent on Jan. 19 after losing their fifth straight against the New York Rangers.

Since that point, the Blackhawks' chances have increased to 19.6 percent. It's the first time the odds are above 18 percent since Nov. 7, which was the day after Jeremy Colliton took over as head coach. It's truly amazing how far they've come, and how poor the West has been that has allowed a playoff berth to be remotely possible.

To make things even more exciting in Chicago, the Blackhawks have a gigantic weekend with pair of home games against the Avalanche and Dallas Stars, both of whom occupy the two wildcard positions.

Imagine the updated graph if the Blackhawks can turn those into regulation wins...

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.