The Chicago Blackhawks were understandably relieved on Monday night.
They finally got that first victory against the St. Louis Blues, a 2-0 decision that cut the Blues’ playoff edge to 2-1 in this best-of-seven series. They were feeling good and they were obviously happy with that final result.
But if there’s a dark cloud to accompany this silver lining of a moment, it’s in the special-team category. The Blackhawks’ power play is still struggling mightily. They got away with its anemic performance on Monday night, but they know they need more from it going forward.
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The Blackhawks went 0-for-4 on the power play, which included 37 seconds of a 5-on-3, in their 2-0 victory over the Blues. It was another goose egg for a power play that hasn’t scored since its first attempt this postseason, a Brent Seabrook goal in Game 1. It probably didn’t help that Seabrook couldn’t be on that power play on Monday; he was suspended three games for his hit on David Backes. But with or without him, the Blackhawks struggled to sustain zone time and get enough shots on the advantage. It’s now 1-for-14 this postseason.
“Certainly the power play was not very good tonight,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You don't really want to lose the momentum off it during a game. And those are offensive guys, too, that feed off of that and get more comfortable with the puck as you progress in the game. We need that to be something to trigger our offense."
On Monday it stalled the Blackhawks again. They got just a shot apiece on their first two power plays, which came 10 seconds apart in the second period. It looked better on their brief 5-on-3, and the remaining 5-on-4 time off that, but it was still lacking.
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“We had some chances on that 5 on 3 but we just couldn’t really get a hold of a real heavy shot,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “We moved it around but we would’ve liked to have scored on that one, for sure, to get two (goals). But we look at the positive here. We drew that penalty and we just have to build off it the next game.”
Yes, the Blackhawks pulled Game 3 out on Monday night. It took a Marcus Kruger empty-net shot to pad their tenuous 1-0 lead, which came off Jonathan Toews’ shot barely five minutes into the game. The Blackhawks would’ve liked a power-play goal to add to that lead, and they want to solve their issues there before it becomes too costly.