What was an ugly affair for the Blackhawks turned into another two points for the team, and marked their best start in franchise history. Having come into the tilt 5-0-0, their best start since 1972-73, the Hawks escaped with a win and nabbed their sixth consecutive win to begin the 2013 season.
Did the Hawks deserve the two points on Sunday night? Absolutely not. Between their regular trips to the sin bin, the team looked gassed from three games in four nights and was lucky to get to six. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that this hot start is any sort of fluke.
The Blackhawks have officially broken back into the ranks of the elite teams in the league. After a couple of down years, their core has returned intact and completely healthy. Aside from that, they are getting top notch play on the blue line, between the pipes and on special teams.
Patrick Kane has been a star. Marian Hossa has shown absolutely no signs of the concussion he sustained in last year’s playoffs. Jonathan Toews is putting up a point per game. Duncan Keith has looked like a Norris Trophy winner again. The scary thing is, there are still players that need to show up and the Hawks can still play better.
We knew coming into this shortened season that the teams that didn’t experience a large turnover on their roster would have an advantage. The Hawks only added two players prior to the beginning of the lockout. This roster is almost identical. It’s just a matter of better execution, better goaltending, and top notch special teams play.
The Hawks are obviously not going to run the table and go 48-0-0. But they’ve been a joy to watch so far, and even if the games aren’t always pretty, this team is finding ways to win. We’ll have to see if they can carry that trend late into the spring and into the summer months.