Luck not needed for Hawks' offense
December, 11, 2013
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks like to say they're getting the "bounces" when they score a lot of goals in a game.
They make it sound as if they're catching a break and have luck on their side for that day.
But the reality coming to light as the sample size grows and they continue to score an excessive amount of goals is the Blackhawks are simply that good.
The Blackhawks were at it again offensively Wednesday and filled the Philadelphia Flyers' net seven times on their way to a 7-2 win at the United Center. It was the Blackhawks' third consecutive game of at least six goals.
The Blackhawks have scored five or more goals 14 times this season. That's 42 percent of their games. They have scored a league-best 125 goals, which is 21 more than the next team and 76 more than the 30th-ranked team. That's not the puck bouncing in your favor.
Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsThe Blackhawks have scored 19 goals in their last three outings.
Just don't tell that to the Blackhawks.
"Sometimes it's easy and things happen for you, and you get the bounces and sometimes they don't," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think the last few games it's a good example of it. We're playing consistent."
Playing with consistency and utilizing their depth have been the keys to the Blackhawks' offensive success.
Take Toews as an example of that depth. The Blackhawks have been lighting the lamp aplenty over the last few weeks, but Toews wasn't the one scoring those goals. He had assists and he was doing other things, but he wasn't scoring. His goal Wednesday was his first in eight games.
The Blackhawks have been getting production from everywhere in the lineup. Of their 19 goals in the last three games, 11 different players have scored. All seven goals Wednesday were scored by different players. The Blackhawks have six players with at least 10 goals.
"Every line seems to bring something different and some chemistry," Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg said. "I think it's really been coming in. It's coming in big time over the last three games for sure. Just got to keep it up."
The Blackhawks may soon be adding another offensive threat, as well. Bryan Bickell, who was expected to be a 20-goal scorer this season, could return to practicing with the team Friday after missing 12 games because of a lower-body injury.
Add in Bickell to an already potent offense and the Blackhawks may just have the potential to be one of the best offensive teams in recent seasons. The season is still young, but their 3.68 goals-per-game average is the highest since the Washington Capitals averaged 3.82 goals during the 2009-10 season.
Maybe at some point the Blackhawks will quit talking about bounces. Versteeg seemed to be getting closer Wednesday.
"It's not a fluke if you keep doing it," Versteeg said. "Hopefully we keep it up. We've been playing good hockey. At the odd time, a few games ago, we had our chances they just didn't go in for whatever reason. They're going in now. That's the game of hockey. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't."
Right now, it does.