Will The Chicago Blackhawks Win The Stanley Cup This Season?
The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the strongest sides in the National Hockey League and will be keen to defend their Stanley Cup crown this season.
The Blackhawks have won ice hockey's primary tournament in three of the last six seasons and, with a bit of luck, Chicago will fancy their chances of going all the way this year. However, they will face stiff competition from the likes of New York Rangers, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens - who will all be looking to displace the current Stanley Cup champions at the summit of the sport.
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So far this season, the Blackhawks have struggled to inspire confidence. Chicago certainly aren't performing and dominating sides as they did last season but they have managed to turn their form around this week.
The Blackhawks have now won three straight games and have shown plenty of improvement but Joel Quenneville's men are still lagging behind in the Western Conference's Central Division. Two of the NHL's best teams feature in that division and the Blackhawks cannot afford to let the Stars and Nashville Predators build up too much momentum before the playoffs.
Hossa, Blackhawks stay hot with OT win vs. Oilers https://t.co/Gy79hb1xqg— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) November 19, 2015
On offense, Chicago are performing well. They have scored 53 goals in 19 fixtures this season, including four in their most recent victory against Edmonton Oilers in the early hours of Thursday morning. As expected, the talismanic Patrick Kane has scored 13 goals so far this season - the most in the league.
Despite a number of off-field distractions, Kane has defied the odds and thrived on the rink this campaign. Without a doubt, he has been the standout performer so far and has also assisted 17 goals this season. He has been directly involved in 30 goals this season, which is nine more than his nearest team-mate. At the time of writing, the Blackhawks are 23/2 with Bet365 and Kane's contributions will play a key role if they to succeed this season.
Defensively, the Blackhawks have tightened up in recent weeks. In the early stages of the season, Chicago were shipping goals on a regular basis but have looked a lot more assured. Goaltender Corey Crawford produced a sensational save in overtime to deny the Edmonton Oilers and their shot-stopper has really stepped up to the plate.
If the Blackhawks secure a playoff spot by the odd point, they have their goalkeeper to thank. Nine times out of ten, Taylor Hall would have scored and won the game for Edmonton. However, Crawford's incredible ability to produce a moment of magic at the right time has kept the Blackhawks in the game.
Unbelievable stop from Crawford. Just. Unreal. #CHIvsEDM— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 19, 2015
So, will the Blackhawks go all the way this season? Well, if Kane and Crawford maintain their current form, they stand an incredible chance. These two players are among the greatest in the National Hockey League and are genuine match winners. Only time will tell but, if they perform at their best, Chicago could claim their fourth title in seven years at the end of the campaign.