Blackhawks

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Blackhawks

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.