Circus Trip Recap: Blackhawks Own The Road

Hawks PHX

The Hawks annual Circus Trip came to a close with a strong victory against Phoenix on Saturday night, and the results of the seven games show that the Hawks are playing as well as any team in the NHL.

Chicago lost the first game of the trip 5-1 in Denver.

After that, they rolled.

In the six games that followed, the Blackhawks out-scored their opponents 22-10, and allowed more than two goals only once (at Winnipeg).

Patrick Kane had five goals and four assists on the trip. In November, Kane registered a point in 13 of 15 games and posted 19 total points (9 goals, 10 assists).

Duncan Keith also had a point in 13 of 15 November games; he had more multi-point games (three) than point-less games (two) in the month. Keith finished November with one goal and 15 assists in 15 games.

The Blackhawks were 9-0-1 in the ten games in which Marian Hossa played. Hossa, who missed five games because of a lower-body injury and a family issue, had ten points (six goals, four assists) in ten games in the month, and finished the trip with two goals and three assists in four games.

Jonathan Toews had six points (two goals, four assists) on the trip, but four of those points came in Winnipeg. However, Toews won 75 of 137 faceoffs (54.7 percent) on the trip, and won at least half of his draws in five of the seven games.

Chicago got great contributions from their superstars, but their depth made an enormous impact on the trip as well.

Andrew Shaw had four goals and one assist, Marcus Kruger had one goal and three assists, Ben Smith had one goal and two assists and Brandon Bollig had one goal and one assist on the trip.

Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was credited with the game-winning goal in Phoenix, had three assists on the trip as well.

Speaking of game-winners, four different Blackhawks were credited with the deciding tally in the Hawks’ six wins (not including Smith’s shootout winner in Dallas). Kane had two while Hossa, Kruger and Hjalmarsson were each credited with one.

Corey Crawford took the loss against Colorado, but earned victories in four of the next six games. In his four starts after the Denver debacle, Crawford stopped 110 of 116 shots (.948 save percentage).

Antti Raanta stepped in and won two of the final three games on the trip, allowing only four goals against 55 shots (.927 save percentage) in Calgary and Phoenix.

The Hawks killed 14 of 18 penalties in the seven games, including 11 of 13 in the last five games of the trip.

Certainly there were some issues. Taking 18 penalties in seven games isn’t a great number, and there were a few periods on the trip in which the Hawks didn’t look very good. But they won games, and will return to the United Center as the top team in the NHL.

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20 Responses to Circus Trip Recap: Blackhawks Own The Road

  1. Mike McCormick says:

    Well done. Now it’s time to get down to business.

  2. RyanDale says:

    Best circus trip on record! Whats gonna happen when we really start playing well?

    Its hard to win 20 games by this time of year. Its even harder to play your very best for 60/65 mins every night. Most nights it never happens, for any team. I think this team is at a place where the opponent is merely the game of hockey itself. You try to make all the right and true reads, passes, and plays on each shift or stop every shot. What team is on the other side doesnt necessarily even matter. Making the fewest mistakes does matter!

    The Hawks can dictate the play or respond to any situation that comes up. They merely react against the game as it plays out. And you strive for perfection in your own play every shift and the results are there when the game is over. You eliminate your mistakes. You are competing vs your own potential. This team can really only be beaten when its done in by its own accord. Much like last year. Course I could be wrong!

  3. DJ says:

    Hawks fans filling up arenas in Dallas & Glendale, allowing them sellout crowds, which they don’t usually have. Still, some morons in both places railing against us this morning, as usual. They take our $$$ gladly, but want us to shut up and not cheer our team. Touching, really.

  4. ebonyraptor says:

    RyanDale: “What team is on the other side doesnt necessarily even matter. Making the fewest mistakes does matter!”

    YES!

  5. Al L says:

    Well said Ryan. Most band wagoners don’t understand what it takes to win in this NHL, especially this conference. It is almost impossible to be on your game for a full 60 minutes as this long season drags on. I would of been happy with a 4-3 trip but to come back 6-1 and not play your best hockey says a lot about this team. I heard Steger say that since coming back, he loves how no one on the bench ever panics and always feels like the are never out of the game. This a a real mature, powerhouse team that with a few lucky breaks and no significant injuries could be the first team to repeat in a long time….

  6. wall says:

    Well said ER- Hawks outplayed Avs much of game… but made some big mistakes- that left Goalies out to dry- and Avs have way too much finishing talent!

    Really don’t like the new Playoff format… Right now the two Best teams Hawks/Blues will be most likely squaring off before WCF.

    I will add- both Blues/Hawks have some of the best Prospect systems around… they should both be powerhouses – for several years (barring injuries of course)… and if Avs decide to throw some money at some D- this division is by far the best in Hockey!!!

  7. RyanDale says:

    yeah ER, well said, ha!

    Anybody else leery of that first home game? I always have an uneasiness about it after a long road trip .

  8. wall says:

    I am leery of the way the Stars have read Most of the Hawks passes in the first two meetings… they have really “Jumped” Hawks passing lanes like no other team thus far…

    It will really be interesting to see How/what Q does in Coaching/style of play to counter-act the Stars aggressive play- OR maybe they are just that quick?

    Stars have outplayed Hawks twice and lost… wouldn’t be surprised to see Hawks outplay Stars- and Lose!!! Just Karma!

  9. RyanDale says:

    There problem is they just cant/ dont score enough at home, its weird how bad it is…example pp at home 3%!! 1ppg at home this season . Tues obviously a diff scenario being in Chi . They dont thrive on road but are 8-6

    The first game down there when we won 5-2 ,but really closer, thought we played pretty well actually. CC was great, which helps, but other than the constant parade to the penalty box i felt we held our own. Went 6/6 on pk . The last game we looked pretty lost offensively….and just couldnt get passes to hookup. I couldn’t believe I heard Q talking about the game having a nice pace, esp early?? WTF?

    Agree Dallas is a different animal now, with speed. And Lehtonen is better than he gets credit for. TSeguin(game time dec tnite) and Benn are big time too. I know Vernon Fiddler is no all star but he could play for me anytime. We def have to play better than the last game there. Good news we’ve only given them 3g in reg/ot in 2 games in D, cant score!…and ZERO giveaways last night in AZ for us, we need that to continue at home.

    losing Robidas is a big hole to fill for them. Sharpie was a 1 and 2 star in the 2 wins in D, maybe he carries the mail for us Tues. Honestly I would be uneasy if it was Fla or Buff, so Stars have my attention……… just something about that first homer

  10. RyanDale says:

    btw, Seguin was scratched vs Edm tonite

  11. noonan96 says:

    Considering the Cup hangover, teams getting up for each and every Hawk game and being in the West this run and the points lead is impressive. My biggest worry is injuries, as the Hawks, like most teams don’t have enough depth to lose elite players-and with the Hawks potentially sending a lot of players to the Olympics those core players will be pushed and those games will quick, physical and pressure filled.
    Can the BHawk coaching staff manage those minutes enough so that those elite players have enough left in the tank come the spring? Repeating is incredibly hard, and I think this being an Olympic year is just one more hurdle.
    If they do repeat-WOW!

  12. goldenbladz says:

    You are right on Wall about the Hawks and Blues with a lot of future talent. The only difference is the Hawks have the money to retain theirs and the Blues for some reason are one of the worst teams financially in the NHL.

  13. JS says:

    I drank enough on Saturday night to kill a normal man, so my memory of the game is a little blurry.

    I think Bollig had his two best games of the season over the weekend.

    It’s becoming pretty apparent that as soon as Bickell is healthy, Pirri is going to be on his way back to Rockford… at least until Handzus’ osteoporosis flares up again.

    The Hawks seem to be the creme de la creme once again this season, but we all kind of knew that coming into the year.

    I think Brookbank has actually played well enough to have trade value, if the Hawks feel comfortable enough to move him (which I doubt because Roszival might not be able to be trusted health wise). When you look around the NHL, the fact that Leddy and Roszival are a 3rd pairing probably makes 28 other coaches and GMs envious. The Blues are probably the only team that comes close, yet they have Barret Jackman so the Hawks automatically win that one.

    As the year moves on, I’m interested to see what happens with the 2C. It’s pretty obvious that Q has no faith in Pirri and all of the faith in the world in Handzus. Kane has been putting up ridiculous numbers and I’d love to see what he could do over the course of the season with a better center.

  14. wall says:

    Goldenbladz- Re: Blues- but if they get into SC Finals this year… they might sell out next year – and start spending $$$ again-

    JS- I agree that 37 is better fit at 2nd C right now… but realistically- both 37/26 are “short term fixes”- still better options will be available next year or two… AND 37 really doesn’t fit the mold of 3rd/4th line so called “high energy” guy… so wouldn’t be surprised if SB tries to move 37 (if the right deal(s)) are to be had)- we shall see.

    cuz your right Q still doesn’t like him

  15. JS says:

    The Blues are right up against the cap. They also have a decent chunk of their team in the final year of their deals, so I’ll be interested in what they turn into next year. They may run into trouble when Halak gets hurt (because it happens every year), since Brian Elliot has realized that he is indeed Brian Elliot.

    And I definitely agree with you Wall. Problem is that playing Pirri 7 minutes a night is going to negate any potential trade value he has. We also don’t want to assume that Q will want to play TT or Danault at 2C.

  16. Phil says:

    I posted this on the previous thread but meant to leave it here.

    While Hawks fans watched some boring games on this trip, the results were outstanding. This team finds ways to win even when they aren’t playing consistently great hockey. The pattern seemed to be that they have have one bad period, but put together 2 solids. Third periods seemed to be where they found the will to win. I am not sure how many games they trailed on the circus trip, but I believe at least 3 games demanded a third period comeback. I would be curious how many it was? Never mind the number of comebacks, but the fact that they found ways to win those tight games is huge. This group doesn’t like to lose. Period!

    I tend to keep up with NHL results and stats via tsn.ca online and on tv with NHL Network. One thing I have noticed on NHL Network is the Hawks are flying under the radar. We keep hearing about how great St. Louis and San Jose are. Same with Colorado. While I respect these teams Cups aren’t won Oct-Dec.

    Considering the low amount of down time the Hawks had over the summer to get bodies healed and rested the early this team has been tough to beat. There have been some stinkers along with way, but it should be expected given the schedule and number of games that get played. More important is fact that every team that plays the Hawks right now is jacked up to beat them. They have answered the bell almost every game and come away with positive results. I am pleasantly surprised with how well the Hawks have started out the year.

    The monster in the closet remains injuries. Hawks have been very fortunate so far. Strength and conditioning coach deserves some kudo’s. I like the talent mix on this team as long as we can stay healthy. One just hopes we get to playoffs healthy and then let the horses run.

    It is always interesting in hockey to watch how certain teams that don’t match up well on paper end up playing tough. Hawks have trouble with Calgary, Oilers, Ave’s, sometimes Phx. I see this as a result of those teams throwing a pesky forecheck that results in turnovers. If they shut down neutral zone via trap and stand up at blue line it becomes a dump and chase game, which is what other teams want us to do. Actually, this is what St Louis does as well so lets not forget them either.

    Raanta was just fine against Dallas. He did what was needed.

    My last comment about the Dallas game goes to Antoine Roussel. This cheap shot dirt bag basically engages in attempt to injure plays every game. While I haven’t paid much attention to the fight cards lately, his tendency was always to sucker punch guys and use his head that was protected with a long visor to get in close. Remember what he did to Seabs last year? His shot to Patrick Kane’s head the other night was classic Roussel. It was a direct attempt to injure Kaner. Some day this guy will get his. The thing with Roussel is this guy can skate and appears to have some talent. Reminds me of Raffi Torres, although Roussel does not have that notoriety yet.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  17. goldenbladz says:

    JS is right, the Blues are up against the cap and they have been successful in the last two years yet still lose A LOT of money. St. Louis is a baseball city and the Cardinals are what it’s all about.

  18. wall says:

    JS-Re: Blues- you are right – they currently do spend… I was looking to next year- assuming both Rattie and Jaskin come up and play on the cheap ( IMO- they are better than any 2 forwards in Rockford)- Blues will have close to 26 Million to spend and “Upgrade” the team… They will have two FAT contracts to pay – assuming Steen and Halak come back.

  19. JS says:

    Alex Steen is currently shooting 24% which is freaking nuts, especially compared to his career averages. I can only hope that the Blues are dumb enough to give him big money.

    I’m not fully up on the Blues farm system, but when I was poking around on the internet earlier I saw that their system was ranked 19th compared to the Hawks 10th. While I haven’t seen enough myself to make an informed judgment, the internet seems to not like their prospects.

    They are certainly in good shape moving forward, but they need a guy like current Alex Steen… not the one we will see in May.

  20. RyanDale says:

    how can Steen be 29 already? seems like his old man just retired not long ago…geesh

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