MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The Chicago Blackhawks had the day off on Friday after their come-from-behind road win against the Boston Bruins Thursday night. As they rest up for a Saturday test against the Minnesota Wild, it gives a chance for reflection on what has been nothing short of an offensive explosion over the last three weeks.
The benchmark for any NHL team is three goals per game. Ask a coach or General Manager and they will tell you averaging three goals or more is what they “shoot” for. There are six teams in the league that are currently averaging three or more. The Hawks are second at 3.23 per game. Only the Washington Capitals (3.51) are better.
Over the last three weeks they have seen their average rise considerably after scoring at least three in 13 of 14 games. That is an incredible run. They’ve done one better over their last eight games scoring four or more in each of them. Again, it’s almost un-imaginable to have a streak like that -- and history proves it. At least Hawk history.
Not in about a quarter century have the Hawks had a streak like the one they are on. In the 1985-86 season they went 13 games in a row scoring four or more goals. The last team in the NHL to accomplish the feat is San Jose in 2005-06. Their streak ended at eight. The Hawks are still far from the NHL record. Boston went 25 straight games with at least four goals scored in the 1970-71 campaign.
Usually an offensive run like the Hawks are on takes one of two things. Either the power play has to be a big contributor or your third and fourth lines do. In the Hawks case, both have helped. Before getting it snapped in Boston, the Hawks had scored at least one power play goal in eight straight games while the third and fourth lines have contributed no less than 12 goals during this span.
If the first half of the year was about the Hawks’ great goals against average, then maybe the second half will be about their offense. Right now it’s a one-two punch in the rankings, but the Capitals are in sight. A few more four-goal games and that rarest of NHL doubles might happen: A top ranked offense AND defense. The 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens were the last to accomplish that feat. Boston came close last year with a second ranked offense to go along with the best defense.
The Hawks might do one better.