Are the Blackhawks Well on their Way to Second Straight Cup?
Back in the 1970's and 1980's and even in the 1990's, winning two straight Cups was something that was commonplace in the NHL. Teams like the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings all enjoyed consecutive seasons with hockey's Holy Grail.
Consecutive Cups by one team has not happened since 1997 and 1998 when the Red Wings won it and while they came close in 2008 and 2009, they were not able to accomplish this feat. Fast forward five seasons later and there appears to be a team that could break this mold.
While there are several elite teams in the NHL this season, there is none better than the Chicago Blackhawks. As of this writing, the Blackhawks are tied for first with the Anaheim Ducks in the both the Western Conference and the entire league and have showed no signs of slowing down at 27-7-7.
In the shortened season last year, the Blackhawks ruled the league and ended up winning their second Cup in four years. For the first time since the 1997 and 1998 season, this team seems poised to win their second straight Cup for several reasons.
For starters, this team has been all about winning with two Cups in their last four seasons. The Blackhawks have figured out how to win on a nightly basis and how to do so in different ways whether it is in regulation, overtime, the shootout, with a power play goal, with a shorthanded goal, with good goaltending, with good defense, and so on and so forth.
Dating back to last season, the Blackhawks are 63-14-12, which is impressive considering how much parity exists in the league today. This is a franchise that is determined to establish another dynasty and based on the way they have played from last season through today, they might be well on their way to accomplishing that.
Secondly, the Blackhawks' offense can be matched by no other team in the league. The team has six players with at least 10 goals and has three players with at least 40 points, two things that used to be a regularity back in the early 1990's but not so much commonplace now.
The team's offense is led by the likes of Patrick Kane (23 goals and 30 assists for 53 points), Patrick Sharp (22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points) and captain Jonathan Toews (15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points). These three offensive machines have been the team's best forwards ever since their Cup-winning season in 2010 and are looking like they can do it again this season.
The team's offense also has solid depth. Remember, this is a team that also has the likes of Marian Hossa (14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points), Brandon Saad (13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points), and Andrew Shaw (11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points), who all have the ability to score goals and put up points.
Lastly, the Blackhawks could win the Cup again this season is because of the way the play on home ice at the United Center. As of this writing, the team has the second best home record at 13-5-2 after being 18-3-3 last season.
The Blackhawks have made the United Center one of the toughest buildings to play in the league. The building is loud, proud, and used to seeing their team win and this season, fans would like nothing more than to see their favorite team lift the Cup on home ice.
There might be still be a lot of hockey left to be played but if the Blackhawks continue to play this way and carry it into the postseason, there is no reason why come June, this hockey club will be lifting the Cup for the second straight year.