Blackhawks

Blackhawks have no plans to change up power play units despite quiet stretch

Blackhawks have no plans to change up power play units despite quiet stretch

When you lose four of five games and struggle to get consistent scoring, it forces you to think about changing things up. The Blackhawks did that on Thursday by shuffling the line combinations, and it worked as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in a shootout.

What about the power play though? In the past six games, the Blackhawks are 4-for-23 on the man advantage for a conversion rate of 17.4 percent. Not bad, but below their season average of 21.3.

On Thursday, the Blackhawks went 0-for-5 and allowed their third shorthanded goal in six games. Fortunately for the them, it didn't prevent the team from picking up two points. And despite this weird stretch, Jeremy Colliton has no plans to change up the units because it's worked so well for them since December.

"Not right now, anyway," Colliton said. "I think they’ve earned the right to have a little bit of rope. We had some looks. The last few games we created some opportunities that haven’t gone in the net or maybe we’ve scored with lesser chances. When things are really going well, that’s going to happen. We don’t want to give up shorthanded goals. That’s a thing we have to snuff out.

"But it’s important we don’t start pressing and get frustrated. Things will deteriorate quickly if we put too much pressure on ourselves to come through every time. But they have a high standard for themselves and I’m pretty sure they’re going to score."

The Blackhawks are still getting their looks. They've been on the power play for 43:42 total minutes over the past six games, and have generated 45 shots on goal and 39 scoring chances, according to naturalstattrick.com. The goals just haven't followed.

Sometimes when things aren't clicking as well as they used to there could be a tendency to look for the perfect pass, but most of the time the answer is to simply get back to the basics. The Blackhawks have no concerns that this trend will become a larger issue.

"We've just got to keep it a little more simple," Dylan Strome said. "We have so much talent on that unit that I think sometimes we try to make the extra play or whatever it is. But we're still confident. ... The shots are there, we've just got to execute. We've got to capitalize and bear down. We had a couple good chances in front that we didn't score on and obviously we could've put that game away a couple times. But I think we'll get back to the way we were and it should be good."

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Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

The Blackhawks are honoring one of their own on Friday, with Dave Bolland set to skate “One More Shift” with the organization. He will join the team on the ice during the anthem, and will be featured throughout the game commemorating his time in Chicago.

When you think of Bolland, the first thing that pops up into the minds of fans is his game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Or, better known as the second goal of "17 Seconds."

But his former teammates remember him for more than that.

"He was awesome," Patrick Kane said. "He was one of those guys who played a third-line role for like his whole time here and just really did well with it. I remember the line with him, [Martin] Havlat and [Andrew] Ladd really took off in 2009 and obviously [Dustin] Byfuglien, him and [Kris] Versteeg were a good line in 2010. But just the way he played, he got underneath the other team's skin, especially their star players. Wasn't afraid to chirp, wasn't afraid to get into the mix, especially with his size and the way he was built.

"But yeah, some great moments, some big goals, a lot of big shorthanded goals, you can obviously remember his 17 seconds was unbelievable as well, that's a goal I'm sure he'll never forget. We'll never forget that celebration too, so it's awesome he's getting honored."

Bolland, who earned the nickname "The Rat," is perhaps best known for the role he played in the Blackhawks' playoff series battles with the Vancouver Canucks. His line frequently drew the defensive matchups against Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and he's the one player who really knew how to throw both twins off their game at the same time.

"I think he's kind of like Shawzy," Jonathan Toews said. "He's one of those guys that fans here in Chicago really like. Aside from scoring goals and the plays that he made over the years in the playoffs, he was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game. He was good at a lot of little things like that, so he was a big part of those winning teams."

Andrew Shaw was teammates with Bolland for only two seasons, but they won a Stanley Cup together and Bolland was one of the best and knowing his role and perfecting it.

"One of the best at his job," Shaw said. "He played that shutdown centerman. I always thought he had the shortest shifts. His shift lengths were so short just 'cause he would play so much against top guys that he'd want to be so well-rested while he was out there. ... He was skilled enough to chip in offensively as well.

"That's the type of player he was. He'd play against the top guys, he'd shut them down, he'd be that little rat himself, just try to get them off their game as well as outworking them."

Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he registered 168 points (70 goals, 98 assists) in 332 games. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

Friday will mark the first night honoring the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship, which ended a 49-year drought in franchise history. The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a Marian Hossa bobblehead.

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Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

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USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his second start of the season.

In his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .909 in a 3-2 overtime loss. He gave up a 5-on-5 goal, power-play goal and overtime goal at 3-on-3. Overall, he was solid.

"Everyone wants to play all the time," Colliton said of the dynamic between Corey Crawford and Lehner. "Whether it's a goalie, forward or D, they play better when they play more. That's just the standard answer. But we've had a little bit of a lighter schedule. We're trying to make ... we want both guys going because we're coming up on a stretch where we're playing a lot of games, so we're going to need them both."

Lehner is 5-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets. 

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