Marian Hossa said frustration isnt there right now.
Hossa has been out there on that Blackhawks power play, which is mired in a definite early-season slump. Hes taken his shots and watched his teammates do the same. But no matter the game, the opposing goaltender or the number of chances, the Blackhawks just cant connect on a power-play goal. Zip, zilch, nothing. And on Monday night against Nashville it was 0-for-7 nothing.
But Hossa isnt worried.
Were not really frustrated right now because we do a lot of good things. Were moving, he said. Just about the time when the first puck goes in, then itll come in bunches.
Its an optimistic attitude for a power play that hasnt had many positives. Yes, the opportunities have been there, and in the last two games so have the more choice shots. It didnt help on Monday that Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was not in a very giving mood on the Blackhawks power plays. But the power play remains anemic nonetheless, as the Blackhawks have capitalized just four times on 45 advantages this season.
The Blackhawks last power-play goal came Oct. 22 against the Colorado Avalanche; theyve gone 0 for 18 in their last four games. Theyre converting just 8.9 percent of the time, which puts them 29th in the league only St. Louis power play is more futile (8.3 percent). Contrast that with their penalty kill, which has scored just one less goal (three) than their power play.
Theres your random stat for the day.
And as much as power-play chances and shots have improved, coach Joel Quenneville said those positives only go so far.
With the number of chances weve had, somethings got to give, he said. Were generating but we need production. Thats what we measure and thats what were looking to attain.
Quenneville loves to switch forward lines and defensive pairings when things arent going right, and hes done the same with the power play. The new combinations have yielded better scoring chances. But the Blackhawks could still shoot more: they had nine shots on seven power plays on Monday, including just two on a 5 on 3 that lasted one minute, 35 seconds.
When the Blackhawks had early shootout issues several players said this group was too talented for that to last. They were right. The mini-drought didnt last and the same is likely for the power play.
The Blackhawks have weathered power-play woes with good work elsewhere: strong goaltending and their ability to pile up goals on even strength among them. They also benefit from a stellar penalty kill, which is third in the NHL (91.7 percent). They probably win some games more handily if the power plays working, but theyre a strong 7-2-2 nonetheless.
Hockeys a game of ups and downs. The power play is decidedly down right now but the Blackhawks say its only a matter of time before it starts producing.
Were doing everything except putting it in the net, Patrick Kane said. Everything else is looking pretty good as far as movement. Breakouts were good tonight and there was good movement on the 5 on 3 and 5 on 4. We just have to score goals.