|The Blackhawks have had plenty of celebrations in the first 15 games. (Getty Images)|
In case you didn't know from their 12-0-3 record, the Chicago Blackhawks are good. Really good.
For the 15th time in 15 games to open the season, the Blackhawks picked up at least one point, taking down the defending champion Kings 3-2 on Sunday in Chicago. They dominated the Kings for the first two periods before holding off a furious Kings rally in the third. Still, the Blackhawks ended up outshooting the Kings 37-27. That's how strong they were in the first two periods.
But how good have they been in the first 15 games? Historically good. Consider that they are now just one game off the NHL record for the longest points streak to start the season, only the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07 had at least a point in the first 16 games of the season.
As you could probably assume, this is good rarefied air to occupy.
|Longest point-streaks to start season|
|Year||Team||Number of Games||Result|
|2006-07||Ducks||16||Stanley Cup champions|
|1984-85||Oilers||15||Stanley Cup champions|
|1943-44||Canadiens||14||Stanley Cup champions|
I think you can see a theme developing here.
The best thing about this start for the Blackhawks (well, besides being in first place and setting records, that is) is they have been doing it all sort of ways. They have done it with scoring, they have done it with defense, they have done it with great puck possession and they have done it with great goaltending. Yes, I said great. The combination of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery has been more than solid this season.
Emery, who got the win on Sunday, is 5-0-0. Not too shabby for a backup.
And there isn't one thing about the team that makes you think the Blackhawks will come crashing back to earth. Sure, it's not likely Emery and Crawford will continue to have a save percentage of .933, but it's not so absurdly high that you should expect a major crash.
The same goes for the offense. A team shooting percentage of 11.5 is high but not incredibly high to the point that you can expect them to come falling. They are playing really well and you could call it a hot streak, yes, but this team isn't playing way above its heads.
There were certainly concerns entering this season for the Blackhawks. The idea of having no center depth to the point that Dave Bolland was going to anchor the No. 2 line was a chief reason, as was the goaltending. The defense was a touch suspect too, depending how you felt about a guy like Johnny Oduya.
But perhaps Oduya has been the Blackhawks' key cog, their own version of a rabbit's foot. Just check out this stat courtesy of NBC's Liam McHugh.
Chicago acquired Johnny Oduya on 2-27-2012. With him in the lineup Blackhawks are 24-2-7. @nhlonnbcsports— Liam McHugh (@liam_mchugh) February 17, 2013
Wow is all I can say to that. It's a long enough sample size to make you think these Blackhawks just might be onto something.
No, this points streak won't go all season (at least I don't think so), but based on history they have to like how long it's gone already.