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One Minute Remaining: Individual stats leading to team success for Blackhawks

by Harvey Wittenberg / Chicago Blackhawks

While currently leading the NHL in team scoring, the defending champion Blackhawks still haven't broken some interesting team statistics since beginning play at the United Center on January 25, 1995.

Some new marks for the Blackhawks at the UC could be set this season: There have been two campaigns featuring six Blackhawks players who have scored 20 or more goals. The first was in 1995-96, and the most recent occured in 2009-10, when Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer all reached the 20-goal mark.

The only time the Blackhawks had three players with 30 or more goals at the UC came in 1995-96, when Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte and Eric Daze reached that plateau. That was also the only time a Chicago defenseman led the team in points for the season—Chris Chelios had 72 (14G, 58G), five points ahead of Roenick.

This year there are six players that are on pace to reach 20 goals, and three have already surpassed that mark—Kane, Sharp and Hossa. Toews, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw are almost there. At this rate, Chicago's leading goal-scorers also have a shot to score 30 goals, or maybe even 40.

Many Blackhawks are already on their way or have reached career or Chicago bests this season, including Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Saad,and Shaw. With Head Coach Joel Quenneville usually rolling four lines per game, Marcus Kruger, Ben Smith and Brandon Bollig have already surpassed their NHL highs with many more games to play. And since Kris Versteeg re-joined the team in a November trade, he could top his record of 20 goals and 24 assists that he registered with the Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009-10.

I'm not neglecting our defensemen, since Duncan Keith is on his way to surpassing his career highs in assists (55) and points (69). Niklas Hjalmarsson, too, has already hit career bests in all offensive categories. Both Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook are on pace to eclipse their best point marks.

This may not be the year that the Blackhawks beat their team record of seven 20-goal scorers, five 30-goal scorers or three 40-goal scorers in a single season, but Chicago's quest to keep the Stanley Cup in Chicago for another year will have still have to rest on the goaltending tandem of Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta.

Individual statistics are only important in the grand scheme of things if it results in retaining the Stanley Cup for the team and the Blackhawk fans!

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