By Jessica Patton
TORONTO — The Maple Leafs were the latest victims of the Blackhawks' red-hot road power play, as the Blackhawks' man advantage netted two more goals in Friday's 4-1 victory in Toronto.
Coming into the game, the Blackhawks led the NHL with a 27.1-percent power play on the road and have scored at least one goal in 24 games when the other team is in the box.
"I think that's one of their skills: the power play,” said Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, whose team gave up six power-play opportunities. “I think they're really good at it. They use each other well, they really make the ice big and create opportunities.
“Their D got pucks to the net and created scoring chances, and that's one of their strengths."
After starting the season 1-4 on the road, the Blackhawks have found their game and are now 11-8-3 away from the United Center. The win against the Maple Leafs is not only their 10th victory in a row but their fifth road win.
“I think we got that four-line rotation,” Patrick Kane said after the game when asked about the Blackhawks' recent success. “That’s probably been one of the best things about the streak we’re on right now, everyone’s contributing, it’s a new player’s turn every night.
“It’s fun to watch, and it’s fun to be a part of. All four lines are chipping in, and everyone is doing what they’re supposed to.”
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For coach Joe Quenneville, who became the NHL's second all-time winningest coach following the Blackhawks' victory Thursday in Montreal, it was just a matter of the team clicking and finding the chemistry throughout the lineup rather than just in select players.
“Our guys are playing well, I think the consistency in our lineup’s been more noticeable here,” Quenneville said Friday. “We’ve been getting contributions across the four lines, and I think early on it was basically a one-line team and now everyone is contributing.
“Our defense has been balanced, our goaltending has been rock solid, so we like the consistency right now.”
With the win, the Blackhawks took sole ownership of the top spot in the Western Conference with 64 points, two points better than the Dallas Stars. They return home to face the Canadiens on Sunday before heading back out on the road Tuesday against the Predators.
But for the defending Stanley Cup champions, it doesn’t matter where they’re playing, the plan remains the same.
“We’re not changing how we play,” Quenneville explained. “I think there is more consistency now both home and away, and we’re playing the right way and everyone’s bringing it so we like the balance.”