With a 12-2-4 record, the Chicago Blackhawks have quietly shaken any semblance of a Stanley Cup hangover. While clubs like the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks continue to soak up all the attention in the Western Conference, the 'Hawks have been every bit as good as those two squads.
There are some kinks to be worked out for Chicago to be sure, but there isn't a team playing perfect hockey right now. Along with the Boston Bruins (go figure), the 'Hawks currently have the longest win streak in the NHL with three.
It's been an odd season of rapid movement and up-and-down swings around the league, but several stats stick out for Chicago to this point.
All statistics, both team-based and player-based, appear courtesy of NHL.com.
After a massive 24-game point streak last season, grabbing at least a single point in 16 of 18 games might not seem like a big deal. It is though, and it's a ridiculously high point percentage that has the 'Hawks sitting pretty as the fifth-best team in the standings.
Only two squads have been leaving points on the table less often than Chicago, and that's the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche.
Not bad company to be in at this time of year, given their respective records. If you're looking for evidence that there was never a Cup hangover to begin with, then this is your number.
For what it's worth, Chicago was the best team in the league last seson while carrying a .802 points percentage.
There are six teams left in the NHL that haven't lost a game when leading after the first period, and the Blackhawks are one of them. The company in that regard is mostly outstanding (Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado again), and it shows that this is a team that knows how to play with a lead.
Early on in the season, there were some concerns that the 'Hawks weren't playing particularly well in the third period, and there certainly was some evidence to suggest that.
The team seems to have exercised those demons, however, and has a top-10 win percentage when leading after two periods to show for its improvement in the third frame.
Contrary to the interesting Toronto Maple Leafs model, it's pretty tough to consistently win hockey games while constantly getting outshot. For the Blackhawks, that hasn't been much of an issue this season, as they are second in the NHL in average number of shots produced per game.
The San Jose Sharks are still tops in the NHL after firing off 50 on several occasions early on in the year, but the 'Hawks are hot on their fins (ouch) for the title of highest-shooting team in the league.
For a team that's also playing some sound defense (seventh lowest in shots allowed), that bodes well.
The Washington Capitals and their awesome power play gets a lot of press. Alex Ovechkin is a beast for them with the extra man, and the Caps are spoken of in quiet whispers as a team that's nearly impossible to stop with the extra man.
Washington's league-leading power play is clicking 25.6 percent of the time. Chicago's fifth-best power play is coming along nicely at 22.2 percent.
That percentage is even more impressive when you consider the players that have struggled to produce with the extra man. Marian Hossa only has one power-play point. Patrick Sharp doesn't have any. Patrick Kane leads the team with four, but only two other players have more than a single tally.
There's room for improvement here, and the 'Hawks could have the most dangerous power-play unit in the league by the time the season is over.
Chicago has been getting it done in the offensive zone as a team. Only Patrick Kane sits inside of the NHL's top 25 scorers, and he's in a massive cluster of players that could tie for the 25th spot with 17 points on the year.
The 'Hawks have eight players with at least 10 points, and only two players that have laced up the skates for Chicago this year for at least a game have failed to register at least an assist. That's some intense scoring depth, to say the least.
You know things are going swimmingly when the third-line center has 11 points on the year.