The Blackhawks’ latest home stand hadn’t gone nearly as well as they’d hoped.
Usually strong and successful at the United Center, the Blackhawks collected just one point in their first three games of this home stint. They wanted to get something out of Monday’s game, wanted to finish it on a positive.
Thanks to a very successful power play, they did.
Patrick Kane had a goal and three assists and the Blackhawks scored four of their goals on the power play as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2 on Monday night. The Blackhawks remain in second place in the Central Division behind Dallas, which beat the Nashville Predators in overtime. The Stars still have three games in hand.
Scott Darling stopped 35 of 37 shots in the victory.
The Blackhawks scored four of their six goals on the power play. Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook, Artemi Panarin and Teuvo Teravainen (5-on-3) had those goals. Duncan Keith had two assists; Shaw and Panarin also had two assists to go with their goals.
For coach Joel Quenneville, Monday’s outing was more like it – sort of. He liked the start, during which Brandon Mashinter scored his third goal of the season to put the Blackhawks up 1-0 just 2:33 into the game. But Quenneville still wasn’t thrilled with what the Blackhawks were giving up on the other end.
“I still think we can be better in our own end,” he said. “That’s been the one thing that’s been very noticeable on this home stand. Our defensive zone coverage, too much time, too many shots and too much possession against us: that’s something we have to rectify and improve upon.”
To that end, Darling was great. He was steady throughout and tremendous when needed; his diving second-period stop illustrated the latter. Only Mark Arcobello and P.A. Parenteau shots got through Darling.
“It was a timely save,” Darling said of his second-period sprawl. “Overall a good game. I wish I had that first one back. It kind of fooled me and I gave up a bad rebound. But overall I’m happy with my game.”
The Blackhawks were pretty happy with the power play, too. That, much like the rest of the Blackhawks’ offense, had been rather dormant lately.
“The power play is what jumped out at us,” Quenneville said. “It’s nice to see it break out after a very long stretch of not being as productive.”
The Blackhawks still aren’t where they want to be with their overall game. They’re giving up a lot on the other end. But for a team that needed to end this home stand on a positive, they’ll take what they produced on their end.
“We haven't played great [as of] late. You know, we weren't doing thelittle things right, we weren't winning those 1-on-1 battles,” Shaw said. “We keyed on that tonight, came out here had a good first [period] and built on it.”