The overall consensus was a positive one: perhaps the Chicago Blackhawks power play could’ve come through with one more goal, one final dagger against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
But for all intents and purposes, the power play is on the right track.
The Blackhawks have scored twice on their advantage in as many games, and there’s still some room for improvement. But the team feels it’s getting there, and has certainly made headway on it from where it was for most of last season.
“It felt like the last game we were pretty good on it as the game went along,” Patrick Kane said. “We had a couple of chances in the third we probably could’ve buried. You get that third goal on the power play, that’s where we want to take advantage of it. But once it starts going into the net more, we’ll get a little more confidence.”
Coach Joel Quennneville saw improvement in it from Game 1 to Game 2.
“I liked our power play, even better the second game,” he said. “I know we scored a funny goal (Brandon Saad’s goal off a strange puck bounce) but we’re doing many more effective things as far as motion, different looks and more of a shot thought process. That opens things up. We’ve had better movement and more puck retrievals as well.”
Bryan Bickell said the Blackhawks and power-play coach Jamie Kompon want to do certain things on the advantage to raise their potential success levels.
“He tells us to get three high shots, and if anything goes off there, we can go to low plays or the fancier plays those guys like to do,” Bickell said. “But we like to establish our three high shots and go from there.”
The Blackhawks did just fine last season without a consistent power play, thank you very much. But for a team that’s always looking to hone every part of its game, there’s no such thing as being satisfied with a so-so category. The power play is looking better. It just needs to connect a few more times.
“We’re trying to change everything, trying to get more pucks to the net, when (the puck) comes to us know what we’re going with it even before we get it. Things should open for us,” Kane said. “It’s crazy to say we’re a great 5-on-5 team and for some reason we can’t score when they’re down a man. All the tools are there, all the ingredients. We just need to put it together.”