The opportunities went by the wayside for the second consecutive evening. On Sunday the Chicago Blackhawks had four power-play chances, including a double minor, on which to capitalize vs. the Nashville Predators.
Instead they looked at a goose egg once again – 0 for 4 – en route to another blanking, a 2-0 loss to Nashville. The Blackhawks are 0-for-9 on the power play in their last two games. They ultimately didn’t need it in their 3-2 victory over Carolina last week. They absolutely could’ve used something on it vs. the Predators.
Coach Joel Quenneville said the power play has to get going again, pronto.
“We come of a big game vs. St. Louis, got two big goals on it, then the last two games it’s ordinary,” Quenneville said. “You’re going to have stretches where it’s good and stretches where it dries up but we’re going to need that thing going soon.”
Yes, we’re going to keep this power-play issue in (gasp) perspective here. Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, the Blackhawks’ power play is ranked seventh overall in the NHL (11th at home and seventh on the road). It’s been solid most of the season; it’s just been noticeably lacking the last two games.
It also doesn’t help that one of the Blackhawks’ biggest scoring weapons is on the shelf. Patrick Kane will miss the rest of the regular season with that lower left leg injury. You lose someone like that it’s going to make a dent. But the Blackhawks say that’s ultimately no excuse.
“Obviously we’re missing Kaner a little bit but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal,” Duncan Keith said. “For whatever reason, sometimes it’s trouble entering the zone and other times it’s a little tougher on setting it up. It’s only been a couple of games, so we’ll keep working at it.”
As we’ve discussed before, a team can do just fine in the postseason without a great power play. The Blackhawks did it last year. The Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins also won Stanley Cups minus great numbers on the man advantage. This, however, isn’t about the postseason; it’s about a team getting as many points as possible to better improve their standing heading into the postseason. With several players injured – Kane, Michal Rozsival (lower body) and Bryan Bickell (upper body), who Quenneville said is questionable for Tuesday – the Blackawks have to take advantage of every advantage to score.
“Our power play was just OK. We had zone time but we didn’t get the shots through; it looked like we had some traffic there but the pucks didn’t get there,” Quenneville said. “Certainly (Kane) is a big part of our power play and it’s been successful with his presence. But somebody else gets a great opportunity.”