Blackhawks’ power play continues to be their weak spot
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org May 9, 2013 12:54PM
Blackhawks Jonathan Toews, can't score on Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding, in the 2 period. Friday May 3, 2013 at United Center. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: May 9, 2013 7:31PM
The only team with fewer power-play opportunities in this year’s playoffs than the Blackhawks is playing golf, watching on TV and preparing for the world championships today.
The Vancouver Canucks had 10 power-play opportunities against the San Jose Sharks and allowed a postseason high 24. Small wonder the Canucks were swept in the first round.
The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are hoping to close out the Minnesota Wild tonight at the United Center, up 3-1 despite having only 11 power-play opportunities, with one goal. The Hawks’ penalty-killing unit has as many goals in the postseason (one) as their power play.
‘’This series has been tight, it’s been tough. We haven’t had many power plays,’’ Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘’It’s only two games in a row, we’ve only had one. I’m expecting better things as we go along here. I think that the personnel we have on it or had on it [in Game 4] to try and get it going hopefully will springboard to a positive and some production. I don’t think it slowed us down in our team game.’’
The key is getting more opportunities. But the Wild has been very disciplined in avoiding penalties, apparently.
‘’It’s tough when you get one or one-and-a-half power plays a game. We want to get some more chances,’’ Patrick Kane said. ‘’It seems like when those chances do come it’s in the third period when you’re playing in a defensive role and don’t want to give anything up.’’
As Quenneville noted, the Hawks didn’t get many power-play opportunities during the regular season either. They were 22nd in the NHL with 151 power-play opportunities, and 19th in scoring percentage (16.6 percent, 25-of-151).
‘’That’s something we’ve talked about a lot throughout the season,’’ Kane said. ‘’Units have switched a lot throughout the season. I think whoever’s out there has to take pride in being out there and try to make something happen.
‘’As long as you’re getting chances and shots ... I thought the first power play we had [in Game 4] we moved it around pretty good -- just didn’t really connect on the shots. It’s something we’ll try to improve on for sure.’’