ST. LOUIS Jamal Mayers didnt have a whole lot of power-play experience entering this season.
The veteran center is a solid penalty killer and a nose-to-the-grindstone type of player. But the power play? Well, having a big body in front to deflect, redirect and obstruct on the man advantage is always beneficial. And recently, Mayers has been filling that role very well.
Mayers has been on the ice for all three of the teams power-play goals in recent games, and its one more part of his game that has the Blackhawks happy they signed him last summer. For Mayers, the power-play formula is simple: win a face-off and get in the opposing goalies ways, pronto.
You just try to get in front of the net and make it difficult for the goalie to see the puck, said Mayers. Weve got enough skill guys on this team that, if you make it hard for the goalie to see, hopefully some pucks go in.
Patrick Sharp said Mayers has been a welcome addition to the power-play, which went 0 for 39 before last weekends game in Anaheim.
Its no secret that, since hes been there, weve scored a few goals, Sharp said. Hes great in the face-off circle, which is a big part of the power play every time. He goes right to the front of the net and hes an option to put it in the net as well. He brings a heck of a lot more to the team than that, too.
That includes the physical presence, which Mayers has showcased plenty throughout his career. When Jonathan Toews was getting roughed up by the Sharks in February, Mayers was the one fighting Ryan Clowe soon after.
Hes had a real good year, coach Joel Quenneville said. Hes been very consistent in his role, be it at center or with energy. Game in and out, Jammers done what weve wanted.
And now that Mayers is flanked by big rookies Brandon Bollig and Jimmy Hayes, the Blackhawks have a deeper physical element again.
Its just fun to watch that from the bench sometimes and see guys play physical like that, especially when we havent had that kind of presence in our lineup the past couple of years, said Patrick Kane.
There was one play, (Detroits Justin) Abdelkader has the puck in the air and Jammer just runs him over. Its just physical plays like that that gets players like me pumped up, Kane said. Hes been great. Hes a player who deserves a lot of credit for the teams success.
That includes the recent power-play success, too.