Penalty killing has plenty of facets to it. It’s being in the right place, trusting in your fellow penalty killers, knowing your team’s system and reading the other team’s power play.
“There’s definitely an art to it,” Brandon Bollig said. “There’s a lot to it.”
It’s something the Chicago Blackhawks were very good at doing last season, not so much in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals. But the Blackhawks figure it was just a mix of the Capitals’ power play, which was No. 1 in the league last season, and the ‘Hawks just having an off night on the kill.
“Give them credit for their effectiveness on the power play and us maybe being too respectful,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We could’ve been more aggressive on some of those situations.”
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The Blackhawks are looking to get their penalty-killing prowess back on Saturday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team worked on special teams for part of Thursday’s practice, and Marcus Kruger said the kill will work on cleaning some things up.
“We try to have a good system and work from that. Of course we adjust to other teams, but we try to worry about what we do, and that’s an ongoing process,” he said. “We have something to work on there, but we’ll be fine.”
The kill came up huge in the end, nixing a Capitals five on three that lasted nearly 90 seconds. The Blackhawks plan to have more kills like that in the future.
“Our penalty kill’s definitely better than what we portrayed the other night,” Bollig said. “We expect it to pick up.”
Yanic Perreault was known as a great faceoff man during his career. On Thursday he was helping some of the Blackhawks hone their skills at it. The Blackhawks have struggled in that category and Quenneville said Perreault, who was hired as a development coach on July 4, can help find solutions.
“He’s been a good pro and throughout his career his forte was efficiency in faceoff circle,” Quenneville said. “He’s going to help us here and in Rockford. He’s a great asset to have and a great resource.”
Michal Handzus took a maintenance day on Thursday but coach Joel Quenneville said he should practice on Friday and will play Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.