The opportunities were there for the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, especially on the power play.
They had three chances on the man advantage, the first coming just under 2 ½ minutes into the game and barely a minute after they’d taken a 1-0 lead on Brandon Bollig’s wraparound goal. But has been the habit in recent games, the Blackhawks’ power play couldn’t find the back of the net.
The Blackhawks’ power play is still ranked among the league’s best – fifth overall, converting 22 percent of the time. But lately, their special teams have reversed trends: the penalty kill is getting better and the power play is getting quieter. They went 0-for-3 on the power play in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, and an early opportunity on it could have changed the game’s complexion.
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“We have to find a way to get pucks to the net more,” Kris Versteeg said. “The power play’s been big, but it’s been a tough few games on it.”
After scoring at a consistent rate through most of the season, the Blackhawks’ power play is now one for its last 20 opportunities. The Blackhawks got four shots on their three advantages on Sunday night. Special teams can always alter the momentum, and the Blackhawks could have used that dagger of a goal on the power play on Sunday.
Their biggest opportunity came 2:22 into the game. Just 61 seconds after Bollig gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 edge, Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn was called for hooking but the Blackhawks came up empty on the ensuing advantage.
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Coach Joel Quenneville said he didn’t mind the Blackhawks’ power play on Sunday but added a goal on it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
“We made a couple plays off the rush, had some shots, some good looks down the gut. But that second goal was what we were looking for and we didn’t get it,” he said.
The Blackhawks’ power play isn’t dire; as we said, it’s still among the NHL’s best. But much like the rest of the team’s game lately, it’s hit a bump. It’s one more thing the Blackhawks will look to rejuvenate when they hit the road.