Chicago Blackhawks v Phoenix Coyotes
Updated: April 17, 2013 11:54PM
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday after practice he was happy a reeling power play hasn’t affected his team’s overall game.
The Hawks haven’t scored a power-play goal in the last nine games, during which they’ve gone 8-0-1. They’ll clinch the top seed in the Western Conference if the Anaheim Ducks lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets late Wednesday.
But Quenneville knows the Hawks will need their power play clicking in the playoffs. Last year, the Hawks scored one power-play goal in 19 opportunities in the first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes and lost in six games.
This year, the Hawks have fallen to 20th in the league in power-play efficiency.
“On a need basis, we’re going to keep moving it around until we get going,” Quenneville said. “I think we’re going to try things either on the ice or moving some personnel around. We’ll be working on it tomorrow, and hopefully we can get a goal and maybe feel a little different when we go about it so we have confidence on it. Right now, I think it’s a little light in that regard.”
The Hawks’ game Friday at the United Center against the Nashville Predators could jump-start the reeling unit. The Predators’ rank 28th in penalty killing, stopping teams only 76.9 percent of the time.
But the sentiment among the Hawks is less about how their opponents are defending them and more about what the Hawks aren’t doing.
In particular, they need to get more shots through, creating more rebounds and chaos in front of the net.
“We’ve got to get more traffic in front of the net,” right wing Andrew Shaw said. “Coach has let us know what we should be doing, and I just think if we keep working, keep competing out there, things should turn around.
“We’re struggling there, but we create momentum on our power play and carry it into our five-on-five play and it’s been working that way. Bounces aren’t going our way. Everyone’s doing what they should be doing. Sometimes teams get into those slumps.”
The Predators are among the least-penalized teams in the league, so the Hawks might not get many chances to work on their power play. But even though the Predators were eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, the Hawks know it will be a tough game.
“They check well, and they play a game that doesn’t have to be pretty to be effective,” Quenneville said.