Numbers tell the story of Blackhawks' blistering start
With the 2012-13 season having passed the quarter mark, two numbers jump off the page when you look at the Chicago Blackhawks.
One is 15, for the number of games they've played.
The other is 12, for the number of wins they have.
The Blackhawks' 12-0-3 start to the season is remarkable on a number of levels, one of which is that it puts them one game away from tying the NHL record for the longest streak without a regulation loss to start a season -- 16 games, held by the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks, who started 12-0-4.
The Ducks finished that season by hoisting the Stanley Cup; what does the future hold for these Blackhawks?
That's a question that won't be answered until the springtime. For now, let's go inside the numbers on the Blackhawks' blistering start:
Goalie - CHI
GAA: 1.65 | SVP: 0.935
1.87 -- Chicago's League-best goals-against average. Corey Crawford solidified his hold on the No. 1 spot with an outstanding start to the season -- his 1.65 GAA is fourth in the League and his .935 save percentage is fifth. But with Crawford out the last two games with an upper-body injury, Ray Emery has done a solid job, allowing three goals on 55 shots in two games. Emery is 5-0-0 with a 2.17 GAA. Goaltending was questionable position for the Blackhawks entering the season, but Crawford and Emery have turned it into one the team's strengths.
5 -- The number of games the Blackhawks have played at home this season, the second-fewest in the League, heading into Tuesday's home game against the Vancouver Canucks. One reason for that is the season started right around the time Disney on Ice took over the United Center, forcing the Hawks on the road. The long road trip certainly didn't bother them, and their 8-0-2 record on the road is a far cry from their 18-18-5 mark away from home last season.
7 -- The number of games in their current season-long homestand. They're 2-0-1 heading into Tuesday's game against the Canucks; considering the Hawks tied for the League lead with 27 home wins last season, they have a chance to really put distance between themselves and the rest of the conference over the next week.
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12 -- Points for Marian Hossa through 15 games. The veteran forward looks to be back to full strength following the concussion he sustained in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. One of the hidden benefits of the lockout was the extra time off, which Hossa used to get himself back into top shape.
19 -- Games it took the Blackhawks to get their 12th win last season, when they started the season 12-4-3.
21 -- Points for Patrick Kane, in just 15 games. In 2009-10 Kane set career-bests with 30 goals, 58 assists and 88 points, but his numbers in all three categories have gone down each of the previous two seasons since then. Prior to the start of this season, Kane told NHL.com, "I feel like I have something to prove." He's proven he's still an elite offensive player in the first quarter of this season, with seven multi-point games -- nearly half the 15 he had in 82 games last season.
23 -- Total players the Hawks have used this season, tied for second-fewest in the League. In a shortened season, health is paramount, and the Hawks have been lucky in that regard. Defenseman Steve Montador is out recovering from a concussion and forward Daniel Carcillo hasn't played since opening night due to a knee injury. The rest of the team has been healthy.
37 -- Even-strength goals, second in the League. The Hawks' power play has been about the only element that hasn't started hot, entering Tuesday 12th at 18.5 percent. With the offensive firepower the Hawks feature, it likely won't be long before the Hawks start taking advantage of the man-advantage. When that kicks in, along with their proficiency at even strength, it could make for some ugly nights for opposing goaltenders.
51 -- Total goals scored by the Hawks, fifth in the League. They've done a nice job spreading around the offense, as well. They have three players with at least six goals and four with at least 10 points -- both in the top three in the League -- and 15 with at least one goal. Besides Kane's nine goals, which are tied for sixth in the League, Jonathan Toews has seven and Hossa has six. Kane (21 points), Toews (15), Patrick Sharp (13) and Hossa (12) all have at least 10 points.
89.1 -- Chicago's success rate killing penalties, third in the League. The Hawks have been shorthanded just 55 times (seventh in League), but have allowed just six power-play goals all season, tied for the second-fewest in the NHL.