The Blackhawks, believe it or not, haven't played that poorly.....through 2 periods. However, it's that nail biting 3rd period that has cost the Hawks 3 points this year (1 point Tampa Bay, 2 points St. Louis), and allowed other teams to crawl back into the game and even grab a point.
The Hawks are talking about scoring more,....and to be honest, I'm okay with 3-2 or 2-1 games. The reason I am, is because I realize teams are coming at the Hawks much more aggressively than other teams just because they are the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions. So, the Hawks have to play great defense.
Corey Crawford has already gotten his GAA down to 2.33 and if he continues this trend, he should hope to get his average down toward 2.00 before the years end, to again put him within the top 5 goaltenders in the league.
The first part of the year (first 10 games in particular) is to get that mesh, the camaraderie near the level it was last year. With the addition of Kostka, Nordstrom, Smith, and Hayes/Pirri, these guys have to blend in well. Interestingly enough, the one who wasn't even on the preseason radar of making the team: Joakim Nordstrom, is the only one that hasn't been a healthy scratch. He's the one who appears to be blending in the best, with Ben Smith shortly behind.
After watching Pirri with Smith, it is apparent those two "click" well together. They are bringing their AHL team friendship and chemistry up to the NHL level. This is extremely important for Pirri as he has struggled like crazy to stick on to the roster. He needs any chemistry he can find.
The players to me that have struggled so far are actually some of our better players. Seabrook came in too deep and allowed that 3-1 break for St. Louis which cost us the game. Hossa has had several turn overs in the Neutral Zone which have turned into direct goals. These players I am not worried about just because of "work ethic" by both those players.
Hawks will look to continue their defensive ways with their habits turning toward quick center ice feeds for that quick 2-1 or 3-2 allowing great scoring opportunities. In addition, the Hawks will look to clamp down in the 3rd period. This will be important especially against great teams like St. Louis. Expect another tight game tonight.