Hawk Talk: A Look at the Numbers from Rinkside

Hawk Talk: A Look at the Numbers from Rinkside

Sunday, Apr. 4, 2010

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

.233: Antti Niemi has seven whitewashes in just 30 starts in 2009-10, a .233 percentage. Every NHL goaltender with five or more shutouts has started at least 50 games.

.269: The Blackhawks .269 winning percentage when trailing after two periods is third-best in the NHL, trailing just the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks.

.538: Jonathan Toews is second in NHL history with a .538 shooting percentage in shootouts.

.812: Niemis .812 save percentage on shootouts (26 of 32) is the best in the NHL among goaltenders who have faced 20-plus shots.

.886: Chicagos penalty kill at home is the second-best in the league.

.926: Niemi has a .926 save percentage over his last nine starts.

2: Fridays loss to Chicago marked just second time this season the New Jersey Devils had lost when leading at second intermission (30-1-1).

7: The Blackhawks have won seven consecutive regular season games vs. Calgary (Chicago swept the Flames in 2008-09).

8: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville (then with the St. Louis Blues in 1999-2000) coached the last team to win the Central Division before the eight-year run of titles by the Detroit Red Wings started.

11: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has guided his teams into the postseason in 11 of his 12 full seasons as a head coach.

14: Fridays win over the Devils wasnt just the first win for Chicago in New Jersey since Dec. 30, 1997, it was the teams first multiple-win season vs. the Devils in 14 years (since 1995-96).

15: The Blackhawks have won five of their last seven shootouts and nine of 15 overall in 2009-10. Combined with their 6-1 record in OT, Chicagos 15-7 record in extra time is second in the NHL only to the Phoenix Coyotes, who are 17-6.

16: Its been 16 years since Chicago has swept back-to-back season series from a Western Conference opponent. The victim was the Flames, in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.

19: Chicago finished the regular season vs. the East at 11-5-2, their best since going 21-9-3 vs. Wales (the old Eastern Conference) 19 years ago, in 1990-91.

30: Niemi has authored seven of Chicagos 11 games of 30-plus saves this season.

53: Niemi has stopped 53 of the past 54 shots hes seen in his past two games.

95: Calgary starting goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has stopped 95 of 100 shots hes seen over his past three starts.

203: Chicago has now lost 203 man-games to injury so far this season; last years season total was 179.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks square off with Stars tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks square off with Stars tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Scott Darling's regulation shutout streak.

Darling had two shutouts in his first 44 starts of his NHL career, and nearly matched that total in back-to-back games after he pitched a 22-save shutout over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday and stopped 36 straight shots before allowing the 37th one to get by in a 1-0 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Friday. While his shutout streak came to an end, he still hasn't allowed a regulation goal in 124:45 minutes. The Lemont native has been terrific in Corey Crawford's absence and will look to continue that against a divisional opponent tonight.

2. Shoot from everywhere.

The Stars have allowed the most goals of any team (93) this season, giving up 3.21 goals per game. They allowed 2.78 goals per game last year, which was the highest among all 16 playoff teams. Their defense has gotten worse, and their offense has dipped to 18th at 2.55 goals per game after finishing No. 1 in that category a year ago at 3.23. Shoot from any angle and it may find a way to sneak in.

3. Redemption on the power play.

In the first two meetings, which resulted in Chicago wins, the Blackhawks had 10 power-play opportunities but cashed in on only one of those. The Stars are coming off a game where they allowed three goals on the man advantage in a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday and have a penalty kill percentage that ranks fourth-worst at 76.7. They've also given up at least a power-play goal in seven of their last 10 games. It's a vulnerable area for them right now — and has been all year — so it's important the Blackhawks keep pressing.

4. Questionable statuses for several Stars.

After missing 23 games with an undisclosed illness, Jiri Hudler was activated off injured reserve on Friday but did not play in yesterday's game against the Flyers despite coach Lindy Ruff saying he was available. He could draw back into the lineup tonight, although it's not certain. Same with Johnny Oduya, who has been sidelined for the last three weeks with a lower-body injury. Jamie Oleksiak will also have a hearing today for an illegal check to the head on a Flyers forward yesterday, making his status for tonight questionable. Former Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp, who missed the first two games against his former team with a concussion, is experiencing those symptoms again and remains out of the lineup.

5. Take a lead into the third.

The Blackhawks are 11-0-0 when leading after two periods this season, and are one of just five teams to have a perfect winning percentage in that category. The Stars, on the other hand, are one of five teams that have yet to pick up a win when trailing after two. They're 0-10-2 in that department. Taking advantage of the Stars on the second of a back-to-back early could make putting them away easier if the Blackhawks head into the final frame with a lead.

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Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

Bill Dineen, former AHL and NHL coach and father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passed away on Saturday morning. He was 84.

Kevin Dineen was not at the Blackhawks’ practice on Saturday. Coach Joel Quenneville called Bill Dineen “a tremendous man.”

“Everyone who had the privilege to meet Bill and be around him loved the guy. He was probably one of the most liked people you’d ever want to meet. Great family man; the kids are just like the dad,” Quenneville said following Saturday’s practice. “We had a good time with him on the dad’s trip last time. Seeing him at that stage and being around hockey again, it was fun to be there.”

Bill Dineen played for the Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. He later was a head coach, mostly in the AHL. He was named the AHL’s outstanding coach twice and led the Adirondack Red Wings to the Calder Cup in 1986 and 1989. He also had an NHL coaching stint with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1992 to 1993, during which he coached Kevin.

AHL president David Andrews released a statement regarding Dineen’s passing.

“During his time as a player and coach, and in the values he instilled in his family, Bill Dineen created a legacy of greatness in the American Hockey League that still resonates today. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Dineen family at this time.”