CALGARY – Everything has its ebbs and flows in a hockey season.
For a while earlier this season the Blackhawks’ penalty kill was a great source of rancor. That’s gotten much better. Now it’s the power play, which was cashing in on a good clip through the early games has gone quiet.
Over their last seven games the Blackhawks have scored just two power-play goals on 23 opportunities. Through their first 10 games they scored 10 power-play goals on 39 chances. The culprits that have stymied the Blackhawks during past power-play woes seem to be getting them again now: more passing than shooting and not enough second-chance opportunities.
As Patrick Kane pointed out, there are a few times the Blackhawks scored goals soon after power plays ended. Nevertheless, the advantage has been quieter.
“You look at [Marian] Hossa’s goal against Montreal, I think that was a second or two after the power play was over. I know [Artemi] Panarin’s was the same in overtime in St. Louis. You had a couple of goals, maybe it changes things the way you look at it,” Kane said. “We’ve had some looks, had some chances. I still think it comes down to getting the shots through. We’ve been doing a good job at that but we haven’t been recovering the next shot. It seems like we get the first shot and it’s one and done down the ice and breaking out again. So that’s a little frustrating.”
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The Blackhawks went 0-for-2 against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. That doesn’t sound so bad on its own, but for 67 seconds of that the Blackhawks were on a 5-on-3. Not only did it come up empty, but it generated little to nothing.
“We’ve missed a couple of opportunities on 5-on-3s,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “As a group, it’s like the penalty kill. You’ll have some hot and ordinary or good moments. We’ve had zone time. We’re looking for a better look instead of shooting it right now when it’s not going in, and improvising off shots.”
There are always parts of a game that are hit and miss at various times of the season. Right now the Blackhawks’ isn’t hitting but getting back to what worked earlier this season should change that.
“I think teams are playing us hard, playing us well. We have to continue to generate opportunities, get pucks around the net and opportunities for the guys who are going there. Whether that’s us shooting from the point or really whatever it is, try to keep getting pucks there,” Brent Seabrook said. “Nowadays, everyone knows what you’re doing and they’ve watched enough video on you. You have to try to score some ugly goals and bang something in.”