When Jeremy Colliton took over as head coach of the Blackhawks, one of his top priorities was fixing the power play. In fact, for the first chunk of home games, he would trot his team out 15 minutes early ahead of morning skate to work on it.
It took a while, but the results have finally come. And they're producing at a remarkable rate.
In the first 35 games of the season, the Blackhawks were 12-for-105 on the power play for a conversion rate of 11.4 percent. In the past 12 games, they are 13-for-36 for a success rate of 36.4 percent. No team has a better percentage since Dec. 18 than the Blackhawks, a span of nearly a month.
"We've been together for awhile, so I think that's kind of the nice part about it," Patrick Kane said following a 2-for-4 effort against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. "We know each other's positions. We know where we're going to be when we're in trouble. I think the guys did a really good job of moving the puck around quick tonight. Break-ins are solid and you end up going 2-for-4. It's been a confident part of our game lately."
The Blackhawks have been so hot that they've gone from dead-last in the NHL to middle of the pack in less than a month.
How have they done this? It's a combination of reasons.
"We gained our confidence on there," Dylan Strome said. "We've had this unit now for maybe 10 games or nine games. We're feeling good, obviously. We're getting pucks back, [Jonathan Toews] is doing a great job winning faceoffs. [I] try to do the best I can to screen the goalie. [Erik Gustafsson] is really good up there, a threat to shoot always with a bomb of a shot, but very deceptive where he can pass to [Patrick Kane] or [Alex DeBrincat]. And obviously when you can have a guy like [Kane] on the power play, so deceptive, you think he's going to shoot and then he passes to [DeBrincat] and then [DeBrincat] does what he does and puts it in the net, so we've got a good thing going. Our work ethic is definitely a big reason why we're doing so well."
The Kane to DeBrincat connection has been lethal. They've gotten together for a one-time goal in each of the past four games, and they're giving opposing goalies nightmares. Gustafsson has been a difference-maker running the point. Consistency in the units is always a positive.
The Blackhawks have generated 39 scoring chances on the power play in their last 12 games, which ranks 21st over the stretch that started on Dec. 18, according to naturalstattrick.com. But their shooting percentage on those chances is 25.0, which ranks second. Everything is going in for them.
Having experienced a lengthy drought and now a ridiculous hot streak, the Blackhawks know they have to keep their foot on the gas pedal and continue to build on that success or else it can turn the other way in a hurry, particularly their confidence.
"Yeah, it's been clicking," DeBrincat said. "But it can go away just like that, too. We just got to try to keep it rolling and keep the power play going."Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.