The Blackhawks have been going through a lot of changes lately. Changes in their line combinations, changes in their defensive pairings, changes in their power-play personnel. The true measure of those changes will be felt when the Blackhawks start seeing results from them. As of now, they really haven’t.
There’s no lack of firepower with this team; there hasn’t been for some time. You look at the roster and figure it’s only a matter of time before the goals start coming but for the last while, they haven’t. In their last seven games, including Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks have just 14 goals. They’ve had two or fewer goals in six of those contests.
Despite the changes, despite the shots – of which they had 43 on Friday – the results haven’t been there. A paltry power play hasn’t helped.
“We scored a short-handed goal, so it was nice to get that one. But it would’ve been nice to get something 5-on-5,” Patrick Kane said. “We slowed down in the second but we started coming on in the third again, too. Usually when you play that way you’re going to end up with a couple of goals. We’ll try to stay with it here and hopefully it comes.”
It’s been another week of tinkering for the Blackhawks, this time with the lines. There were glimpses that this mix could work but the only thing that came out of their first 20 minutes on Friday was Artem Anisimov’s short-handed goal.
“We tried to mix it up a little bit and thought instantly we had really good pace to it. Obviously we’re in the finished product evaluation, so we’ll keep trying to find ways. Be it off the rush, in zone, off the defensemen, getting activated, there’s still room in that area to grow,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The power play could’ve ignited [the offense], could’ve helped it. We’ll keep pushing but there are a lot of positives here to move forward.”
The positives you take but as Quenneville said, the results are necessary. A lot of shots, better puck possession and zone time (at least for a while on Friday) but the quest for goals has still been tough. The Blackhawks have had plenty of firepower for a while now. Jump-starting it lately has been problematic.
“When you put up 40-plus shots you’re probably doing something right,” Kane said. “I think more times than not we could probably have more traffic in front. But that’s something we’re trying to stress here, too. Hopefully we can make it harder the next time we do."