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BOSTON – Patrick Kane often talks about the power play being one of the 2010 Blackhawks’ best traits en route to their Stanley Cup victory.
Much has changed since 2010. And that power play’s effectiveness is right at the top of the list.
The Blackhawks went 0 for 4 on the power play in Game 3, as it was one more anemic advantage in their 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins Monday night. Yes, it’s becoming a broken record. But that’s what the Blackhawks’ power play is like right now: a broken-down jalopy that used to run as a well-oiled machine.
In Game 3, the Blackhawks credited the Bruins’ penalty kill for some of their woes. But only some.
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“They box you out, they’ve got big bodies, they blocked shots. I think we had some chances to get some pucks through the net and we didn't,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “But our entries weren't great. That's something you want to look at.
“Our power play tonight,” Quenneville said, “was definitely not good.”
No, it wasn’t, and it hasn’t been for the majority of the regular- and postseason. The Blackhawks showed what they could do on their power play midway through the Detroit series. In Game 5 against the Wings they were aggressive, passing quickly, getting bodies in front of the net and, most important, shooting. But that lasted for a very short time.
“I think it’s about us,” Jonathan Toews. “We’ve just got to be hungrier for the puck sometimes, and on the power play, we can help each other out more, keep more plays alive and not let them break out of their zone so easily.”
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One thing that could help is winning faceoffs. But whether it was 5 on 5, 5 on 4 or 4 on 5, the Blackhawks were struggling in that department in Game 3, as well. They won just 16 of 56 opportunities at the dot. The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron won a stellar 24 of 28. For the Blackhawks, Michal Handzus was 0 for 10 and Dave Bolland – who just had a forgettable night in general – was 1 of 8. Toews won 8 of 19.
“You can talk about that and our power play,” Quenneville said. “Those were basically the differentials in the game.”
The Blackhawks have struggled for a while on the power play. They’ve been up and down regarding faceoffs. Both of those issues are being exposed by the Bruins, and the Blackhawks need to find fixes for them, pronto.