One of the keys to the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup when the playoffs started in the middle of April was supposed to be this team’s scoring depth. Patrick Kane’s 88 points rank among the best in the history of the franchise, but the Hawks figured to have strong contributions from all over their roster if they were going to advance to the promised land.
So far, that depth has not disappointed.
Consider the following statistics:
In the long history of the Blackhawks organization, there had only been nine individual postseason performances that eclipsed 20 points, and those came from seven players (Denis Savard, Dennis and Bobby Hull, Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios and Stan Mikita). This year, three Blackhawks have already surpassed 20 points (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp). In fact, Kane and Toews’ postseasons rank in the top four all-time for the franchise.
Only Pat Stapleton (17 – twice) and Chelios (21) have scored more points in a single postseason as a defenseman than Duncan Keith’s 16 as well.
With his fifth game-winning goal in Game Five, Dustin Byfuglien moved past Darryl Sutter and Bobby Hull (four each) into first place all-time for game-winners in a single postseason; Toews has three.
Toews’ five power play goals is tied with four other seasons, one of which was his own 2009 playoffs, for second in the franchise’s history; only Bobby Hull (six) had more in one playoffs, and that record has stood since 1971. Obviously earlier this postseason Toews already passed another Hall of Famer, Mikita, for consecutive playoff games with a point. Toews has also already established an all-time franchise record with 21 assists in this postseason; Kane has 16, which ranks third in team history.
Antti Niemi has benefitted from expanded playoffs, but his 15 wins is three more than Ed Belfour’s previous team-high 12 that The Eagle set in 1992. Only one goalie – Belfour (.923) in 1995 – had a higher save percentage in more than ten games than Niemi’s .911 from this run. No Blackhawks goalie, not Belfour or Tony Esposito or Glen Hall, has had more than two shutouts in a single postseason; Niemi has tied that mark this year.
Niemi has also eclipsed Esposito’s previous team record for minutes played in a single postseason by a Hawks’ netminder by over 100 already.
Perhaps the most impressive number that has been established this postseason is the scary reality that Toews, in only two postseasons and 38 games, already ranks 20th in franchise history with 41 career postseason points (14 G, 27 A). Of all the players that have played in at least 30 postseason games in their Blackhawks career, only Savard, Larmer and Bobby Hull have averaged more than one point per game before the current roster. Toews and Kane are both averaging more than a point per night.
The big guns have showed up for the Hawks this entire postseason, and they have just one more step to climb to achieve their One Goal. If these historical contributions mean anything, this special year should end with a celebration.