Blackhawks can’t say enough positive things about their ugly power play
By Mark Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org
Joel Quenneville sent out Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp — about as high-powered a quartet as possible — for the Blackhawks’ second 4-on-3 power play of Tuesday night’s overtime against the Anaheim Ducks. After a minute of play, Quenneville called a timeout so he could keep them out there.
They still didn’t score, and the Hawks wound up losing 3-2 in a shootout. Counting the two overtime power plays, the Hawks were 1-of-6 on the power play.
“We certainly had our chance and our opportunity to get two [points],” Quenneville said.
On paper, the Hawks power play has been abysmal of late. Before Nick Leddy’s goal in the second period on Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks, the Hawks had scored on just three of their last 31 power plays, and were 2 of 23 on their recent six-game road trip — with both goals coming from Kane during 5-on-3 situations in Phoenix.
But the numbers lie, according to the Hawks.
“The power play didn’t look like it had a good trip, but every game we were pleased with our power play,” Quenneville said before the game. “We like the in-game momentum that it was sustaining or creating, and we had a lot of entries, we had a lot of puck retrievals, we had net-front presence, we had some good shots, good looks, and it didn’t slow us down in the game. That’s how we like to measure it. Eventually, you’ll get rewarded.”
So, no, the Hawks — who appeared to have moved past last season’s power-play woes with six man-advantage goals in their first four games — don’t believe there’s a problem on the power play.
‘‘Nope, nope, not at all,’’ Toews said. ‘‘We have nights where it’s tic-tac-toe, [good] shots, [we’re] moving around, everything clicks for us and it goes in. Some nights you do that and it doesn’t. Some nights you don’t create anything. Whether you score or not, we’ve just got to keep that one consistency where we’re at least gaining some momentum off the power play. If a guy on our team makes a good play, a second effort or something that draws a penalty [and] you don’t score, you’ve got to at least get some sort of momentum off that.’’
In fact, the Hawks feel their power play has been as good — if not better — lately than when it was scoring early on. They have moved the puck well and have created plenty of chances despite mustering 23 shots on 23 power plays during the road trip. They’re just not going in.
‘‘You’ve got to remember, just because you’re getting good looks and getting good shots and playing well, there’s still a goalie in the other net and guys blocking shots and being in good position,’’ defenseman Brent Seabrook said. ‘‘So we’ve got to work and we’ve got to get body position in front of the net, and we’ve got to get some ugly goals.’’
Added Andrew Shaw: ‘‘You go through streaks — you score some, you don’t score some. Right now, the good thing is we’re moving the puck well, we’re getting our chances and we’re building that momentum and using it later in the game.’’