The Blackhawks have gone on a six-game winning streak; a most unexpected development.
Six wins is equal to 37.5% of their season win total (16 – out of 49 games) entering the streak.
The winning streak comes on the heels of a fivegame losing streak.
Their previous long winning streak this season had been three games (Dec 1821)
Regardless, here we are. And not surprisingly, the six game streak is the longest current winning streak in the NHL. They now stand at 53 points, tied with the Oilers & Avalanche, though those teams have played one and two games fewer, respectively. Here are the current Wild Card standings.
Current Western Conference Wild Card Standings
Wild 54 57
Blues 52 55
Canucks 55 55
Avalanche 53 53
Oilers 54 53
BLACKHAWKS 55 53
Coyotes 54 51
Ducks 55 51
Kings 54 50
The top two teams get in. However, while they’re two points away from the second Wild Card spot, they’re three points away from last in the conference. It’s a log jam. But consider how much ground they have made up. Look at how the Conference has done during the Blackhawks streak:
GP W-L-OTL Pts
Blackhawks 6 6-0-0 12
Predators 6 5-1-0 10
Stars 5 4-0-1 9
Kings 5 4-1-0 8
Sharks 5 4-1-0 8
Blues 5 4-1-0 8
Jets 6 3-2-1 7
Wild 6 2-2-2 6
Coyotes 7 2-4-1 5
Canucks 6 2-3-1 5
Flames 4 2-2-0 4
Oilers 6 1-3-2 4
Golden Knights 6 2-4-0 4
Avalanche 5 0-4-1 1
Ducks 6 0-6-0 0
How have they done it? Two things come to mind.
During the duration of this winning streak, they have scored 31 goals. Nine of them have come with the man advantage, with the power play converting at a 42.9% clip, which is surprisingly not first in the NHL over that span (the Flyers are 7 for 16 - 43.8% - just a bit better), but excellent regardless. How good has the power play been compared to earlier this season? They have nine power play goals over the last six games. They had nine power play goals through the first 27 games of the season.
The stars have come to play
Over the course of the winning streak (January 20-present), Only 11 players have scored at least 10 points. Only five players have scored at least 11 points. Four of those five wear Blackhawks sweaters.
Most points in NHL (January 20-present) GP G A Pts
Patrick Kane BLACKHAWKS 6 5 9 14
Jonathan Toews BLACKHAWKS 6 6 6 12
Sebastian Aho Hurricanes 7 3 8 11
Alex DeBrincat BLACKHAWKS 6 4 7 11
Dylan Strome BLACKHAWKS 6 3 8 11
OK, now how exactly have they done it? If you knew these things, you wouldn’t think they could possibly be on a streak like this:
The excellence of the power play has even overshadowed the fact that their penalty kill hasn’t been very good. Over the six-game win streak they have only killed off 75% of penalties, which is tied for 20th in the league over that span. They have allowed at least one power play goal in each of the last 4 games.
So many shots against!
The Blackhawks have allowed 36.5 shots per game during this 6-game win streak… and that’s even higher than their 34.9 average this season entering the streak. However, they are getting off 33.2 per game, compared to 31.2 entering the streak. A much improved save percentage certainly hasn’t hurt - .918 over the past six games, compared to .894 over the first 49 games of the season.
Regardless, the Blackhawks are indeed on a six-game winning streak and making a late push for the playoffs. And this despite two separate winless streaks of eight games earlier this season. Has a team ever made the playoffs despite a pair of eight-game winless streaks during the season? The answer is yes, and the last teams to do it were the Oilers & Coyotes. They each had a 10-game and an 8-game winless streak in 1997-98 (thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau for this note). With the Blackhawks stars doing what they’re capable of, it’s tough to count them out.