When the Blackhawks were in the midst of their 12-game winning streak not that long ago – i.e., last week – I was asked one question several times: are these Blackhawks better than the 2014-15 Blackhawks?
Yes, I know they’ve lost three out of their last four games. That’s going to happen. But considering that 12-game winning streak was the Blackhawks’ longest in franchise history, they’re obviously doing something – make that a lot of things – right this season.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
Coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t like to compare one season or one team to another. That’s understandable.
Still, that’s not stopping me. Comparing numbers is always fun, isn’t it? So since we’re starting the All-Star break and there sure as hell wasn’t anything to write about for the Blackhawks out of last night’s game, let’s look at the Blackhawks’ first 53 games this season compared to their first 53 (through Feb. 8, 2015) last season:
33-16-4 – Blackhawks’ record through 53 games this season (70 points).
33-18-2 – Blackhawks record through the same number of games last season (68 points).
12 – Longest winning streak this season, a franchise record.
8 – Longest winning streak last season.
28-12-2 – Corey Crawford’s record so far this season; that includes a league-best seven shutouts.
21-12-2 – Corey Crawford’s record to this point last season; that includes one shutout.
179:17 – Blackhawks’ longest road scoring drought this season (from Artem Anisimov’s goal 43 seconds into their game vs. Tampa Bay through Tuesday, which includes shutout losses to Florida and Carolina).
149:25 – Blackhawks’ longest road scoring drought last season (the final 6:35 against Anaheim on Jan. 30, 2015 until 2:50 into the second period against Winnipeg on Feb. 6, 2015. The Blackhawks were shut out twice in between, by San Jose (2-0) and Minnesota (3-0).
73 – Points Patrick Kane has through this season’s first 53 games; that includes a career-high 30 goals.
59 – Points Kane had through his first 53 games last season; that includes 26 goals.
7 – Blackhawks who made their NHL debut this season: Artemi Panarin, Erik Gustafsson, Dennis Rasmussen, Vincent Hinostroza, Tanner Kero, Viktor Svedberg and Mark McNeill.
7 – Blackhawks who made their NHL debut last season: Trevor van Riemsdyk, Kyle Baun, Phillip Danault, Ryan Hartman, Michael Paliotta, Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck.
10 – Players who were in the Blackhawks’ lineup in Game No. 53 last season who weren’t on Tuesday’s playing roster due to trade, reassignment or injury: David Rundblad, Patrick Sharp, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Saad, Johnny Oduya, Ben Smith, Bryan Bickell, Joakim Nordstrom, Brad Richards and Antti Raanta.*
*You can technically make this 11; Kris Versteeg was injured (broken hand) in early February 2015.