Blackhawks’ power play has been powerless against Wild
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org May 5, 2013 9:19PM
ST PAUL, MN - MAY 5: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks shoots the puck towards the net against Jared Spurgeon #46 of the Minnesota Wild during the third period of Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center on May 5, 2013 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Best of seven
Updated: May 6, 2013 12:05AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Joel Quenneville didn’t mince words when asked what the Blackhawks need to do in order to get their powerless power play back on track.
“Shoot,” he said.
The Hawks were held scoreless on their two power plays in Sunday afternoon’s Game 3 loss to the Minnesota Wild (with just one combined shot on goal), falling to 1-for-9 in the series. It was the 15th time in the last 18 games that the Hawks failed to score a power-play goal, the four-goals in two-nights stretch in mid-April looking less like a resurgence and more like a mere blip.
Toews agreed with his coach that the Hawks need to just fire away and look for more rebound goals, rather than look for the highlight-reel play.
“The more we pass it around, the more we try to make pretty plays, the more likely it is that we’re going to make a mistake,” Toews said. “We’ve just got to simplify things. We’re a great team 5-on-5 when we’re cycling in the zone. Do the same thing on the power play.”
Crowing over Crow
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford was disappointed in himself for the sharp-angle Jason Zucker shot that beat him in overtime, but his teammates were quick to point out that without Crawford’s stellar effort — particularly in the second period — there never would have been an overtime to begin with.
“We had great goaltending,” Toews said. “Crow kept us in that game all game. Without him we probably wouldn’t have stood a chance.”
Crawford finished with 34 saves. , including 14 in each of the first two periods.
“He was huge,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “He made a lot of big saves for us all game long. I think he was our best player.”
Said Crawford: “I felt good. You just want to give your team a chance to win. Obviously, it would have been nice to win that one in overtime, but what’s done is done.”
Energy at Xcel
It was the first playoff game in Minnesota since 2008, and there was plenty of pent-up excitement unleashed by the 19,238 in attendance.
“It’s a loud building,” Keith said. “They’ve got that rave music going all game long, so it gets the place rocking.”
The Wild credited the fans with fueling their more aggressive style of play, and vice versa.
“We just needed to get more involved, whether it was physically or mentally,” Wild winger Devin Setoguchi said. “Definitely, the physicality of the game helped get everyone involved. It got the fans involved, and that ultimately kickstarted the start of the game for us.”
As expected, center Dave Bolland (groin) and goalie Ray Emery (lower body) did not dress for the Hawks. They both skated before the game and are uncertain for Game 4. Quenneville stuck to the same lineup as the first two games, dressing Brandon Bollig and Michal Rozsival, and scratching Jamal Mayers, Daniel Carcillo and Sheldon Brookbank.
For the Wild, goalie Niklas Backstrom (lower body) did not dress. His status for Game 4 also is uncertain. Jason Pominville (concussion), Clayton Stoner (upper body) and Zenon Konopka (healthy) were scratched. The Wild recalled Jake Dowell, Mikael Granlund and Stephane Veilleux for the game after their AHL team was eliminated from the playoffs, but only Veilleux played.