The Chicago Blackhawks are playing in the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in the last six NHL seasons. Perhaps more than in any other of the team’s notable postseason runs, it is a select few who are primarily responsible for Chicago’s playoff success this year.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been unbelievable. The two have combined for 11 goals and nine assists in 24 games with many of those points coming at the most important of times; the Blackhawks have won eight games these playoffs, and Toews or Kane have the game winner in seven of them. Toews has been one of Chicago’s best players in terms of driving puck possession, and Kane has been no slouch in that respect either.
Corey Crawford is the team’s leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as of today and has more or less cemented his status as the NHL’s best playoff goaltender. His numbers have been exemplary, leading the league among all qualified goaltenders with a 1.97 goals against average and .931 save percentage. He is fresh off a series-clinching game against the Minnesota Wild in which he was perhaps the only Blackhawks player to truly show up.
Toews, Kane and Crawford have been fantastic for Chicago and have more or less carried them to the third round. The Blackhawks will need the rest of the team to contribute a bit more if they are to topple the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Finals.