With the team headed to an airport with tickets to Chicago, the annual Circus Trip is finally over. This year’s edition was pretty bi-polar, but ended with the Hawks capturing six of 12 points and staying on top of the Central Division.
What can we take away from the trip?
Corey Crawford wasn’t great, but he was effective. He finished with a save percentage of .891 on the trip, but was credited with all three of the Hawks’ wins and, in San Jose, allowed only one goal while taking the loss.
Jonathan Toews was both effective and great. He had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the six games, and won 63.2 percent of his faceoffs (67 of 106) on the trip. He was also credited with two game-winning goals on the trip, both of which came in southern California.
With his 13th goal on Saturday night, Toews moved into a tie with James Neal and Claude Giroux for third in the NHL, just three behind Phil Kessel for the league lead. His team-leading 25 points are tied for sixth in the NHL, and his four game-winning goals are tied for the NHL lead.
Simply put: Captain Serious is a legitimate contender for the Hart Trophy.
Duncan Keith had an ugly middle part of the trip, and didn’t finish well with a few bad turnovers in LA and Anaheim. He did have six assists on the trip, but was minus-seven on the trip.
Also on the blue line, but a bit more positive, Nick Leddy had an assist in four of the six games and was plus-four on the trip. Leddy and Keith have 16 points each now, which is tied for the sixth-highest total among defenseman in the NHL. In fact, at the end of the trip, the statistical differences between Leddy and Keith aren’t enormous.
Patrick Sharp had five goals on the trip, while Marian Hossa five points (one goal, four assists) and Patrick Kane had four points (one goal, three assists). Quietly, rookie Marcus Kruger had an assist in all three of the Hawks wins on the trip, and Viktor Stalberg had five points (one goal, four assists).
Of course Stalberg should have had another goal in LA on Saturday night, but wide open nets are hard to hit sometimes.
The Hawks were outscored 22-17 in the three games, largely because their penalty killing was awful. After not taking a penalty in the first game of the trip in Vancouver, Chicago allowed six power play goals in 18 opportunities, a below-mediocre 67 percent kill rate.
However, Chicago’s power play found some swagger, especially with the new-look second unit. The Blackhawks converted seven of 26 power play chances on the trip, a 27 percent success rate.
Most importantly, though, the Blackhawks return to Chicago with 31 points and still on top of the division (albeit with two more games played than Detroit, which has 29 points).