The power play, the man advantage: either way you say it, its the chance for a team to gain an edge on its opponent by taking, well, advantage of it.
But the Blackhawks power play this season has shown anything but power. Its been anywhere from so-so to downright anemic. And on Sunday night, in a big Central Division tilt against Nashville, it was completely invisible.
Four power plays, four opportunities to hurt the Predators, and the Blackhawks couldnt even record a shot on goal on any of them. They couldnt win opening faceoffs on them, could barely get into the Predators zone on them and definitely couldnt get any opportunities on them. It was a tough night for a lot of reasons, but the Blackhawks futility on the power play made it even tougher.
Were trying to find answers for it, especially at this time of year. Its a big part of the game, Patrick Kane said on Monday. It couldve gotten us back into the game last night.
The Blackhawks power play is currently 23rd in the league, scoring just 15.1 percent of the time. It would seem theyre the only solid NHL team thats struggling with it, but thats hardly the case. The Pacific-leading (at the moment) Dallas Stars are ranked 28th (14.5 percent) and the Eastern Conference-best New York Rangers are 29th (also at 14.5 percent).
But the Blackhawks arent worried about those other teams. This is about them. Outside of a 2-for-2 performance against Columbus, the Blackhawks are 0 for 14 on the power play in four of their last five games:
vs. DAL: 0 for 4
vs. WSH: 0 for 1
vs. CBJ: 2 for 2
vs. VAN: 0 for 5
vs. NSH: 0 for 4
Other than Sundays game, the Blackhawks have been fortunate: their lack of power-play prowess hasnt cost them lately. Still, special teams are huge, especially come playoff time, and the Blackhawks want to make their advantage advantageous again.
It can be a huge factor for you every game, especially in the playoffs. Thats something were working on to improve on, Patrick Sharp said. Hopefully we score some big goals down the stretch.
The Blackhawks would love to get some late-season success on the power play. Their 5 on 5 scoring fueled them lately when their advantage let them down. But were getting to that time of the season when all parts of the game need to be clicking. The power play needs to find its power again.
Every year is different. Some teams go through the playoffs and excel in certain areas, but you need special teams to be successful to win, coach Joel Quenneville said. Were not waiting for the playoffs to get a power play going. We need to get it better now. We need more consistency, whether were scoring or not, and not lose momentum off it.