Blackhawks

By the numbers: Breaking down the Blackhawks' regular season

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By the numbers: Breaking down the Blackhawks' regular season

The Blackhawks are headed to the playoffs once again, where they’ll meet first-round opponent St. Louis later this week.

But we’re still a few days away from that. Despite their ups and downs, the Blackhawks once again put together a pretty nice regular season. There were plenty of memorable moments and, of course, numbers to accompany them.

So before we look forward, let’s take a look back at the Blackhawks’ regular season, and some comparisons, with our by-the-numbers package:

106. Points accumulated by Patrick Kane, a career high for a season. It was the most points reached by a Blackhawks player since Jeremy Roenick (107) during the 1993-94 season.

17. Point differential between Kane, who won the NHL’s scoring title (Art Ross Trophy), and this year’s runner-up Jamie Benn (winner of last year's Art Ross Trophy), who finished with 89 points.

234. Goals scored by the Blackhawks this season.

96. Goals scored by Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, who comprised the Blackhawks’ second line for most of this season.

77. Points for Panarin, the most of any rookie in the NHL this season.

56. Points for Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, who finished second to Panarin in that category.

12. Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks from Dec. 29 to Jan. 19, a franchise record.

7. Shutouts this season for Corey Crawford, a career high for him and the most in the NHL this season.

2. The Blackhawks’ power play ranking in the league this season; it scored 22.6 percent of the time.

19, 18, 15. The Blackhawks’ power play ranking in 2014-15, 2012-13 and 2009-10 (seasons in which the Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup), respectively.

21. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill ranking this season (80.3 percent).

10, 3, 4. The penalty kill rank during the last three regular seasons (2014-15, 2012-13 and 2009-10, respectively) they went on to win Cups.

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!