The Blackhawks penalty kill was a thing of beauty in the early season. Its ability to shut opponents down, and score a few short-handed goals to boot, had it ranked in the top five in October.
Then November hit and well, lets just say it dropped. A lot. But in recent games the Blackhawks kill has had the killer instinct again. And on Thursday night, it came up really big at a critical time.
The Blackhawks killed nearly two minutes of a 5 on 3 en route to their 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday. It was part of a 6-for-6 penalty kill performance for the Blackhawks, who are 17 of 21 on the kill in their last eight games.
The Islanders 5 on 3 came moments after they scored their first goal to cut the Blackhawks lead to 2-1. The Isles had the momentum and 1:56 on the two-man advantage; but despite four shots on goal, they came up empty.
We got six or seven clears in that time, goaltender Ray Emery said. So thats huge when those guys can put that effort in.
The Blackhawks penalty kill is getting better. No, its certainly not top five in the NHL anymore. Its more like 27th. But considering this teams kill was languishing in last for weeks, its recent performances are encouraging.
Our penalty killing been good for us lately, Duncan Keith said. Its something weve talked about, taking pride in that. Its starting to pay off and help win us hockey games.