Are the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup Favorites? Current and Past Trends Suggest They Are

The Chicago Blackahawks’ point streak was so much fun to watch I almost could not believe it.

For a league where it is so difficult to achieve success season after season, or even within the season, there should be no attempt to discredit what the ‘Hawks managed to do with their 24-game point streak.

Now that the party is over though, I’ve been able to focus more on what this all means for the Blackhawks and their chances at winning the Stanley Cup.

Based on total points, the ‘Hawks are the best team in the NHL, even if you take into consideration the different number of games each team has played. But record alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Besides points and goal differential, they don’t lead the league in any other major statistical category. That doesn’t necessarily take away from the success the ‘Hawks have had this season, but rather it shows how much competition the ‘Hawks have faced and will have to face again.

Toews

I noticed that all of the success the ‘Hawks have had this season has come against Western Conference teams. And there will be no inter-conference play this year because of the shortened season.

While it can be objectively said that the ‘Hawks are the best team in the Western Conference, can we really say they’re the best in the NHL, and have the best shot at winning a Stanley Cup, when they have not and will not play any other team in the Eastern Conference?

In order to answer this we must look at how the team fared against Eastern Conference teams in the past.

Since 2005, the Western Conference has been the better conference, earning the majority of the points in every season. But the point differential last season shrank to eight from 33 the season before, so the tides may be changing.

Since 2005, the Blackhawks’ total record against Eastern Conference teams is 52-32-18, which is fairly good. Looking at each record year-by-year I found the ‘Hawks do extremely well against Eastern Conference teams when Chicago is a good team,. Even when the Blackhawks didn’t do too well, they were still posting about .500 records against Eastern Conference teams.

They’ve recorded four straight winning records against the Eastern Conference and were unaffected by the increasing inter-conference play last season, posting an all-time best 12-3-3 record.

With all this information, it’s reasonable to say that one should not be overly worried about the ‘Hawks being able to beat an Eastern Conference team in the Stanley Cup Final … if the ‘Hawks do manage to make it to the Finals.

Of course past success doesn’t guarantee future success. But with no interconference play this season, it’s all we have to go on.

Just as important and interesting to watch will be if the ‘Hawks can maintain their lead in the league after a two-game losing streak, with the Anaheim Ducks team on their tail, and with the injury to forward Patrick Sharp.

The second half of the NHL season is poised to be an exciting one.



About Tyler Juranovich

Tyler Juranovich is an Indiana native, a Ball State student, and a senior writer for MSF, where he's been writing about Chicago sports since 2009. His favorite teams are the Chicago Blackhawks and Bears. He's also a lover of reading, music, and movies. Follow him on Twitter (@tylerjuranovich) or email him at tyler.juranovich@gmail.com

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