Friday, April 19, 2024

What’s Behind The Blackhawks’ Recent Scoring Explosion?


On Sunday, the Blackhawks hosted the Coyotes at the United Center and put up a season-high seven goals in a 7-4 win. Defenseman Seth Jones picked up four assists, Connor Bedard had two goals and a helper, and Colin Blackwell got himself a hat trick. It was an unprecedented offensive explosion that no one saw coming.

Just two days later, they did it AGAIN!

Tuesday night saw Chicago pick up a 7-2 win over the Ducks in its second straight seven-goal outing. In what was by far the most entertaining game of the year, Blackhawks fans were treated to 60 minutes full of goals, fights, and everything in between. Bedard once again helped lead the way, posting a team-high five points.

But for a team that still sits dead last in the NHL in goals scored per game, where did this sudden outburst come from? And, more importantly, is it sustainable?

Key Players

The Blackhawks have gotten key performances from some of their biggest names this week. That conversation, of course, starts with Bedard. His five-point performance was tied for the most points in a game by an 18-year-old in NHL history. With eight points in his last two games, Bedard now has 51 on the year. He’s exceeding even the wildest expectations set for him before the season and is clearly a huge part of his team’s success.

The biggest difference in Chicago’s sudden scoring outburst, however, has been Seth Jones. The Blackhawks’ highest-paid player has woefully underperformed in the scoring column this year, never picking up more than four points in a calendar month. In his past four games, though, he’s tallied three goals and four assists. His current heater has been a major contribution to his team’s offensive success.

Getting Healthy/Lineup Stability

The Blackhawks have finally recovered from the horrible injury bug that plagued them for the first several months of the season, which saw more of their cap dollars being spent on the injured list than on the healthy lineup at one point. Forward Andreas Athanasiou finally returned to the lineup Tuesday, reducing the team’s IR list to only Connor Murphy and Taylor Hall. In his postgame comments, head coach Luke Richardson noted the newfound stability:

“It’s taken us a while to get healthy, to get some line combinations working together for a while and we can try some other things down the stretch here but I think the goal is to keep pushing the guys to have the pace we had at the start of this game.”

– Luke Richardson

It’s hard for a team to find success without putting similar lines on the ice every game, but given the Blackhawks’ injuries and rebuilding status, the lineup has been a revolving door all season. These past few weeks, though, things have been more stable, and that appears to be having an effect on the success of those players. For lines like the top group consisting of Bedard, Philipp Kurashev, and Nick Foligno, it’s been a big boost.

A Splash in the Pan?

While Chicago certainly can’t expect to keep putting seven goals on the board every night, the new traction may be a sign of what’s to come. Given that Richardson has seemingly found the lineup he wants to stick with, the foundation is laid for at least some semblance of success. With 16 games remaining in the season, they’ll get a chance to see what a stabilized lineup can do, hopefully offering a sign of what’s in store for next year.

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