With the Blackhawks already on a 5-on-4 power play, the Flames’ Matt Stajan had fallen to the ice and accidentally placed his hand over the puck. His mistake was caught immediately by the officials, and he was directed to the penalty box. Chicago found itself with 1 minute, 42 seconds of a two-man advantage to erase a 2-1 deficit.
For nearly all of that time, the Blackhawks couldn’t find exactly what they were looking for on the power play. They passed the puck around. Patrick Sharp took a crack at net and was denied. Marian Hossa had a shot go wide. Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane couldn’t convert on chances.
As the power play was expiring, Kane decided the Blackhawks needed a different look. He skated with the puck to the point, and Hossa immediately went toward the right circle. Once in place, Kane delivered a pass to Hossa, and Hossa fired from the circle and provided the game-tying goal.
The Blackhawks would lose 3-2 in overtime, but it was their power play that secured them a point -- the team’s 13th in 15 games – and proved once again it is no longer an area that will hold them back.
A season ago, the Blackhawks were constantly in search of power-play consistency. They ranked 19th in the NHL with a 16.7 power-play percentage.
This season, the Blackhawks have scored power-play goals in seven of the past eight games and 11 of their first 15 games. They rank sixth with a 21.8 power-play percentage, having scored on 12 of 55 opportunities.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has credited that change to more player movement and more shots. Last season, he thought his team often stood around and was always looking for the perfect shot.
Even when the Blackhawks didn’t score on the power play on Sunday, Quenneville liked what his players were doing with their opportunities. They had nine shots on goals on two power plays.
"We had zone time, and you keep shooting," Quenneville said. "The guys out there with the play recognition, and [Kane] getting a little more movement and motion and Hossa hitting a nice shot. Eventually, you’re going to get a turn."
Kane was hoping for what exactly happened on the final goal, too.
"It’s a play where you can roll up and kind of see the whole ice to see what’s open -- if you have a shot, someone to the left of you, someone to the right of you," Kane said. “But Hossa is so good at that shot. I tried to draw the guy to me and slide it over to him. He made a great shot. It was a big goal to get us back into the game and get a point."