The Blackhawks special teams have had their ups and downs. Lately their penalty kill has been the former, the power play the latter. But on Thursday night the Blackhawks advantage really was just that.
The Blackhawks went 2 for 3 on the power play in their 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. It was the first time theyd scored more than one power-play goal in a game since Dec. 18, when they went 2 for 7 against the Calgary Flames.
Sure, it was just one game. But since the Blackhawks scored just two power-play goals in their previous eight games combined (out of 26 opportunities), it was a welcome sight.
Yeah, that hasnt been the best overall; that was key, said Steve Montador, who was on the ice for both of then. They changed up the lineups and it seemed to work tonight.
Yep, hide your surprise: of course there were tweaks. But just like in November when the Blackhawks power play got going again, the second unit was a big part of the success. On Thursday, the No. 2 group of Jimmy Hayes, Dave Bolland, Andrew Brunette, Montador and Nick Leddy got both goals.
Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks didnt need to be too pretty or fancy on the power play. They just needed to be efficient and get bodies in front of the net.
They did that on Thursday. Jimmy Hayes got his big body about three feet in front of Wild goaltender Josh Harding, the perfect place to get Dave Bollands feed from behind the net. Goal. Then it was Bolland cleaning up around the net, beating the Wild to a rebound and backhanding it past Harding. Goal again.
Jimmy scored a big one for our power play, which wasnt pretty up to that point, Quenneville said. When the power plays struggling, net presence and ugly goals are what were looking for. We got one of them that way (from Bolland).
Yes, its just one game. But the Blackhawks struggled with production and confidence on the power play, and Thursdays performance could help reverse those trends.