Blackhawks still searching for answers on the power play

Blackhawks still searching for answers on the power play

May 21, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Marian Hossa talked of the Chicago Blackhawks’ resolve, how it was still in place, and that it was one of the things they needed to be evident immediately if they were going even their series with Detroit.

Oh, and there was one other thing.

“We need to get our power play going,” Hossa said. “We need a big goal from the power play.”

Right now any goal that comes on the power play would be big.

The Blackhawks have a Jeckyll-and-Hyde syndrome working with their special teams right now. The penalty kill is tremendous, and is now a postseason league-best 29-for-29. But that power play has been a source of aggravation more than production, scoring just three times on 22 opportunities, including 0-for-8 on the road in the playoffs.

And in Game 3, when the Blackhawks could’ve used a goal on it again, it came up empty.

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The Blackhawks have tried all sorts of different combinations throughout the regular season, and went to a star-studded top unit earlier in these playoffs. Yet here they are again, wondering what they’ve got to do to score on the man advantage.

So what’s the problem?

“It starts with faceoffs,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You get the setup. We had one good power play there (in Game 3); offensive zone time was in place. But we still have to keep taking shots, off the rush or in zone. We have to be a threat to score, and traffic is what we’re looking for. We had better shots. Hopefully we get one.”

The Blackhawks have been hit and miss in getting traffic on Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard. Lately it’s been more miss, be it on the power play or even strength. But another problem right now is, even if the Blackhawks have a good movement and shots on a power play, like they did in their first one on Tuesday night, they don’t improve from there on their ensuing advantages.

It’s been a recurring theme for the Blackhawks the last two seasons: get the power play going. Pronto. The Red Wings are playing stifling defense right now, and getting anything on them at any point is going to be crucial. The Blackhawks are getting the chances. They have to start capitalizing on them.

“We need the power play to get some goals, that’s for sure, to help the series,” Hossa said. “It felt like the first power play we were moving the puck well, got some good shots. On another few, it was tough to get in. But when we got in, we had some good looks. We have to find a way to put the puck in the net.”