Pros and cons: Putting Blackhawks 2-0-1 start into perspective

Pros and cons: Putting Blackhawks 2-0-1 start into perspective

Opening the 2018-19 season with three games in four days, the Blackhawks have jumped out to a 2-0-1 start and sit atop the NHL standings through the first week. But it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows.

Let's run through some of the pros and cons to put it all into perspective:

Pro: No team has scored more goals through three games than the Blackhawks (15).

Con: No team has allowed more goals through three games than the Blackhawks (14).

Pro: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have each scored a goal in three straight.

Con: The bottom six forwards have combined for only four of the team's 40 individual points.

Pro: The Blackhawks have generated 83 scoring chances at even strength, which ranks third-best.

Con: The Blackhawks have given up 74 scoring chances at even strength, which ranks second-worst.

Pro: The Blackhawks have scored all 15 of their goals at even strength.

Con: The power play is 0-for-10.

Bonus special teams con: The penalty kill isn't much better — 7-for-11 (66.7 percent).

Now let's look at it from an optimistic standpoint:

Con: The Blackhawks have yet to score a power play goal.

Pro: They still lead the league in offense.

Con: The Blackhawks aren't getting any depth scoring.

Pro: But the top stars are playing like it.

Con: The Blackhawks have trailed in every game this season.

Pro: The Blackhawks have come back to force overtime in every game this season.

Con: Cam Ward has allowed 14 goals in three games for a goals against average of 4.63 and save percentage of .843.

Pro: The Blackhawks are still 2-0-1 and Corey Crawford has yet to appear in a game.

There are certainly reasons to be excited about how the first three games have unfolded and the resiliency they've showed early on. At the same time, there are just as many reasons to know there's still a lot of work to be done, which includes tightening things up defensively and ironing out special teams.

Four of the top six teams in the NHL standings reside in the Central Division. Every point is crucial and that can't be understated. In that respect, the Blackhawks will take it.

"Getting five out of six [points] is probably a win for us," Patrick Kane said after the Blackhawks' 7-6 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night. "Doesn't feel that great right now because we lost tonight. But if we get five out of six every three games, we'd be pretty happy with that."

That pace is unsustainable over the course of an 82-game season, but if the Blackhawks want to hover around the playoff pack all year long, they need to address those flaws mentioned above as quickly as possible before water eventually finds its own level and the high scoring rate comes back down to earth.

Blackhawks vs. Predators: Start time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Blackhawks vs. Predators: Start time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Chicago Blackhawks got a big win against the Pittsburgh Penguins but have since dropped two games. The Blackhawks are looking to stop this skid to become a full on losing streak against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they'll be without goaltender Corey Crawford, who was put on injured reserve after sustaining a head injury on Sunday night. Cam Ward will become the top goaltender and the Blackhawks recalled Collin Delia to get into the rotation as well.

Here is everything you need to know to watch all the Blackhawks coverage on NBC Sports Chicago.


ON TV: NBC Sports Network


Mobile/Tablet: MyTeams App by NBC Sports


7:00 PM: Blackhawks Pregame Live presented by
7:30 PM: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators
10:00 PM: Blackhawks Postgame Live presented by Hyundai


WHERE: United Center, Chicago, IL
WHEN: December 17, 7:30 p.m.


BEFORE THE GAME: At 7:00 p.m., Blackhawks Pregame Live presented by gets you ready for the game with Pat Boyle in studio with Patrick Sharp, Adam Burish and Steve Konroyd. Watch NBC Sports Chicago or click here for the livestream.

IN BETWEEN PERIODS: Tune in to watch Boyle, Sharp, Burish and Konroyd breakdown the action after each period. Watch NBC Sports Chicago or click here for the livestream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, stay tuned for Blackhawks Postgame Live presented by Hyundai for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch NBC Sports Chicago or click here for the livestream.


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With Corey Crawford on injured reserve, Collin Delia gets chance to showcase himself

With Corey Crawford on injured reserve, Collin Delia gets chance to showcase himself

After sustaining a concussion on Sunday against the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks placed Corey Crawford on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 16 and will not be eligible to return until Dec. 23, meaning he'll miss at least the next three games while he goes through the league's concussion protocol.

In a corresponding move, Collin Delia was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. And it's a great opportunity for the 24-year-old to showcase himself to the Blackhawks as their potential No. 1 goaltender of the future.

Delia has done everything asked of him this season and more in the AHL, where he leads the league among qualified goaltenders with a .933 save percentage and is tied for third with a 2.34 goals against average in 17 appearances despite holding a 7-5-4 record. He's allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last 10 appearances, and is coming off a game in which he stopped 37 of 38 shots (.974 save percentage) in a 2-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Delia, who signed with the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent on July 28, 2017, made a strong impression under Jeremy Colliton last season down the stretch and during Rockford's Western Conference Final run in the Calder Cup Playoffs by winning seven of 10 games and recording a 2.34 GAA and .924 save percentage.

Delia picked up right where he left off this season and is starting to provide a large enough sample size in the AHL to show that his game could translate to the NHL level, where he's appeared in only two games and has an .889 save percentage. He's likely to split time with Cam Ward as the Blackhawks look to fill the void with Crawford out.