Top 5 Story Lines Surrounding Chicago Blackhawks' Postseason Performances
This year's playoffs are going quite differently than last year's for the Chicago Blackhawks—and that's a good thing.
The Blackhawks should feel satisfied in their 2-1 series lead over the Minnesota Wild, as they've already won the same amount of games they won in last year's playoffs.
Here are the top five story lines surrounding the Blackhawks' playoff run.
5. Offensive Defense
Four of the Blackhawks' defensemen have at least one point so far in the series.
Now that's impressive.
What's unique about the Hawks is that basically every player on the team can be a scoring threat. Even when the team's best scorers aren't on their game, the defensemen are willing to pick up the slack.
The Blackhawks' defense is just like another level of depth to their offense.
4. Where's Brandon Saad?
If there's one story line I'm surprised to be writing about, it's Brandon Saad's subpar performance in the playoffs.
Sure, he's played only three games. But Saad has no points in the playoffs and a minus-two rating (he's tied for the worst rating of any Blackhawks player in the playoffs).
This is the same 20-year-old who racked up the fourth-most points of anyone on the Blackhawks during the regular season.
Hopefully, this is just a slow start for the rookie.
3. 3rd and 4th Liners Are Rising to the Occasion
The Blackhawks' bottom-six forwards are contributing more than the coaching staff could ask for against Minnesota.
The third and fourth liners—like Michael Frolik and Bryan Bickell, who have two goals apiece in these playoffs—have figured in much of the Hawks' scoring.
I guess you could say this has been a story line throughout the 2013 season, but I'm glad to say this trend has continued.
2. Patrick Kane Is Putting on a Passing Show
The Blackhawks have scored nine goals in three games this series.
Patrick Kane has assisted on five of them.
Kane is arguably the best passers in the NHL, and he has more than shown this in the playoffs. He can thread passes through defensemen and plays like he has eyes in the back of his head (just look at his assist in Patrick Sharp's goal on Friday).
Kane deserves most of the credit for the Blackhawks' scoring in this series.
1. Corey Crawford
Corey Crawford. Need I say more?
Crawford sports a .935 save percentage and a 1.81 goals-against average in three games.
I'll admit that after he let in a soft goal in the first game against the Wild, I thought the Crawford of last year's playoffs was returning. I'm happy that I was wrong.
Crawford is showing his ability to carry this Blackhawks team to another Stanley Cup.