NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Ray Emery Keeps Chicago Blackhawks in Hunt for Jennings Trophy

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Midway through the second period of last night’s 1-0 shutout of the Minnesota WildChicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was hit in the head with an errant puck.

Hopefully it wiped out his long-term memory.

In the short term, the Hawks are 5-0-1 in their last six thanks in large part to Ray Emery, who recorded his third shutout in the last five games. With the win, the Hawks have now given up 83 goals, putting them square in the hunt for the William M. Jennings Trophy which is awarded to goalies on the team that gives up the fewest regular season goals.

Only the Boston Bruins have allowed fewer goals (81) and with the exception of the Ottawa Senators (88) no team has given up fewer than 94.

Naturally, the bulk of the credit has to go to the goalies who take the ice every night but in most cases, the award goes to the team who plays the most suffocating team defense. This season, the Bruins starting defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are a combined plus-30 in front of goalie Tuukka Rask, who ranks in the top-three in goals against average and save percentage.

For the Hawks, the trusty combination of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are plus-23 and locking things down in front of a pair of 15-game winners in Emery and Corey Crawford.

Assuming the Hawks and Bruins can continue their defensive dominance — Chicago is averaging 2.12 goals against per game compared to 2.13 for the Bruins — it’s going to end up a two-horse race for the trophy during the final 17 days of the season.

Let’s hope the blow to Quenneville’s head keeps him leaning on Emery down the stretch, for if it does the Hawks might wake up on April 28th in possession of a serious piece of hardware.


Parker Dodson is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+.