Five games isn’t a large sample size, but here are some things we’ve learned about the Chicago Blackhawks from their numbers so far:
Patrick Sharp hasn’t scored yet, but odds are his goals are coming. He’s putting a lot of shots on or around the net, but just not in yet. He’s had three or more shots on goal in four of the five games and hasn’t attempted fewer than five total shots in any of the games. He’s had 18 shots on goal, 11 shots blocked and missed six shots.
Like Sharp, Bryan Bickell also hasn’t scored. But unlike Sharp, Bickell isn’t getting shots off. Bickell has seven shots on goal through five games and has had only one game with multiple shots on goal. He’s had three shots blocked and missed three shots.
Patrick Kane getting off to a hot start is nothing new. Him building up early-season points through goals is new. In years past, Kane has put together strong starts to a season by mostly distributing to others and accumulating assists. He has never scored four goals this early in a season. He’s certainly on pace to break his season high of 30 goals in the 2009-10 season.
The Blackhawks’ power play looks improved, but let’s see where it is after 10-20 games. The Blackhawks also started the 2013 season with an impressive power play. The Blackhawks scored power-play goals in five of their first six games last season. They even scored three power-play goals in one of those games.
It’s also still too early to say what the penalty kill will be over time, but the Blackhawks have been better on it the past two games. They were perfect on the penalty kill against the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres, and they haven’t given up a power-play goal in their last six opportunities.
The Blackhawks defensemen have only one goal through five games, but they are creating chances by putting shots on net and getting the puck to the forwards. The defensemen have combined for 12 assists. Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson are tied with a team-high four assists.
The Blackhawks’ faceoff percentage is so far comparable to last season. The Blackhawks are at 52 percent through five games. Jonathan Toews is still the key to that number. He’s won 64 of 107 faceoffs for a 58.9 percentage. Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw are still having their ups and downs. Kruger is 29-of-64 for a 45.3 percent, and Shaw is 21-of-49 for a 42.9 percent. Michal Handzus has continued to be reliable at the dot. He’s 22-of-38 for a 57.9 percent. Brandon Pirri went 6-for-10 in his first game on Saturday.
Hjalmarsson has been sloppy with the puck at times this season. He leads the Blackhawks with 11 giveaways. The next player has five. He led the Blackhawks with 40 giveaways in 46 games last season.
Marian Hossa's offensive contribution may not be at his standard, but he’s been active defensively. He leads the Blackhawks with 13 takeaways. Kane is second on the team with eight.