Even though any statistician worth his or her salt would say that two games and an overtime frame is hardly enough of a SAMPLE SIZE to glean anything meaningful from, there still are some interesting nuggets to be found.
Those are Corey Crawford’s save percentage splits even strength versus shorthanded. In the first two games much has been made of the lackluster penalty kill. It’s tough to find fault in Crawford’s contribution on the unit, as the whole has been entirely too passive, regardless of how much that passivity is a function of the Scud missiles coming from the left circle off the sticks of Ovechkin and Stamkos. But if the PK can find its legs in the next week or so and/or the Hawks can avoid recreating the parade to the box they found themselves in last Tuesday, Crawford’s even-strength save percentage should be more than enough to buoy a team built to wear opponents down 5-on-5.
Through two games, the Hawks are outshooting the opposition an average of 36.5 to 24.0. Granted, that number is slanted heavily by the giant bagel the Ning put up in the first period on Saturday. But if the Hawks are playing their game, they’re driving possession and limiting opportunities at the other end of the ice, and this is the most cursory indicator of that and befitting of this small sample size.
With Bryan Bickell’s promotion to full time duty with Daydream Nation, Brandon Saad was relegated to the third line ostensibly to slay bums. And slay bums he has. Not only does he have 4 points in two games, but his Corsi per 60 is shit hot. And he’s dragged Andrew Shaw with him.
Going into tomorrow’s action in West East St. Louis, of the major components to the top 6 (Toews, Kane, Bickell, Hossa), only Patrick Sharp is without a point so far. His 8 shots on goal through two games should have been enough based on his career shooting percentage to punch one home, but Michal Handzus plodding at center likely isn’t maximizing Sharp’s ability to make himself invisible in the offensive zone and get clean looks at the net. Sharp normally starts seasons hot and disappears right after New Year’s until around March, so to waste what’s typically his peak production time (especially with him turning 32 in December) would be a misstep, as Brandon Saad likely won’t be able to pick up all of that slack from the 3rd line for that long.