Blackhawks’ issues go beyond penalty killing

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With all the talk about the Chicago Blackhawks’ dreadful penalty killing to start the season, it should probably be noted they haven’t been all that great at even strength either.

In fact, per Natural Stat Trick, in six games worth of five-on-five action, the ‘Hawks have been outshot by a margin of 143-115, and that’s the worst ratio in the entire league.

Yes, even worse than Arizona, Calgary, and Buffalo, all of whom have just one win each.

What’s saved the ‘Hawks has been scoring 14 goals on those 115 shots, while allowing just eight on the 143. At five-on-five, Richard Panik has three goals on just five shots. Meanwhile, Goalie Corey Crawford has been excellent at even strength, even if his .886 save percentage at all strengths doesn’t show it.

On Saturday, the ‘Hawks needed two late goals to send their game against the visiting Maple Leafs to overtime. They went on to win in the shootout, improving their record to 3-3-0.

“We’re certainly fortunate to come back in a game like that,” head coach Joel Quenneville said, per CSN Chicago. “There have been a lot of comebacks in the league this year and we’ve given up some leads ourselves. That was a little different way of going about it. There are some positives but more so how we played in the third period. But we still lose a lot of momentum in the game. That’s what we’ve got to shore up.”

Tonight at home to Calgary, the main focus will rightly be on the penalty kill, which has surrendered a ridiculous 12 goals already.

Just don’t ignore the other elements of the Blackhawks’ game, because right now this looks like a two-line team, with a bottom six that’s struggling to keep its collective head above water.