ST. PAUL, Minn. – Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad have made quite a trio for the Blackhawks this season.
The talent and skill on the line is tremendous and those assets have resulted in a lot of production. But that line has been quiet in the first three games of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Minnesota Wild and that’s something it wants to change.
“We have to go more to the net,” Hossa said following Monday’s practice. “We’ve had a few chances, but we can generate a little more. Everybody on our line is pretty strong, so we just have to take it to the net and get the ugly goal.”
Right now, they don’t have any goals. Well, Hossa has one goal [and an assist], but that was on the power play in Game 1. Toews and Saad are still looking for their first points of the postseason. It’s an unusual sight, considering how productive they’ve been this season.
Saad agreed with Hossa’s assessment.
“We’ve got to get to the net more and start shooting pucks,” Saad said. “There are stints in the game where we’re having good zone time and playing well, but most of [the shots] are on the perimeter. We have to get in the dirty areas, get to the net and shoot some pucks.”
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Coach Joel Quenneville said obviously that line’s looking to click.
“When you look at scorers, they get more comfortable, more confident when they score. The puck’s a little friendlier for them, they have that extra patience in tight areas and the finish is what makes them special players,” Quenneville said. “In the playoffs, top guys in stretches are getting checked and scoring’s hard to come by. Right now, that’s the line we’re hoping gets one and gets more comfortable.”
Quenneville didn’t want to focus on the top line because, as he reminded everyone, “yesterday afternoon it was the whole group.” Every player/line goes through its ups and downs at different times and the Blackhawks’ top trio just happens to be going through its downs right now. But chances are, they’ll snap out of it very soon.
“It’s just frustrating when we’re not playing our best,” Saad said. “When we do, the points will come.”