Bruins’ power play keeps Blackhawks guessing
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org June 21, 2013 8:52PM
Updated: July 23, 2013 6:16AM
It took Blackhawks opponents 17 games to score three power-play goals through the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It took the Boston Bruins just four games to score four.
In what seemed like a matchup that heavily favored the Hawks — their penalty-killing unit (94.8 percent in the first three rounds) against the Bruins’ power play (0-for-13 in a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference final) — the Bruins have succeeded by keeping the Hawks guessing.
“They’ve got a lot of different looks,” Hawks winger Michael Frolik said. “In this series, they started with three high shots. Then they went down low. Now they’re using the slot. Every game, they came with something different. It’s not easy when you have to make the adjustment in the game.”
The Bruins are 4-for-14 (28.5 percent) on the power play in the series. In Game 4, they scored twice on five attempts, though Frolik and Hawks coach Joel Quenneville were quick to point out how fluky the second one was, with the puck bouncing high off the glass, over the net and into the crease, where Patrice Bergeron smacked it in.
“Sometimes, they’re going to go in,” Quenneville said. “I don’t think we did things that generated production. But, hey, they’ve got some guys with patience with the puck, and they’ve got some guys that can make plays, and they’ve got some big shooters. So that’s always an ongoing challenge.”
The Hawks likely will get a boost on the penalty kill if Marian Hossa — a scratch for Game 3 and limited to one short-handed shift in Game 4 — is closer to 100 percent. Hossa skipped practice Friday, but Quenneville said that he was “fine” and that he’ll get more penalty-killing time in Game 5 on Saturday at the United Center.
“Obviously, he’s a great skater, and he’s great for the PK for us, too,” Frolik said. “For sure, it’s a loss.”
Given how tight the series has been — three of four games have gone to overtime — a power-play goal here or a big kill there could make all the difference. But Frolik said he, Marcus Kruger, Jonathan Toews and the rest of the Hawks’ penalty killers aren’t putting too much pressure on themselves.
“We always want to kill the penalty and help the team, whatever time it is,” he said. “But you want to go [out] there and think positive and just think you have to kill [the next] one.”