Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Blackhawks [Print without images]

Friday, February 15, 2013
Hawks not concerned about power play

By Scott Powers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't object to his power play producing more goals, but he's content with its overall play.

The Blackhawks' power-play numbers put them in the middle of the NHL pack. They are tied with two other teams for 15th in power-play percentage at 17.9. They have scored 10 power-play goals out of 56 opportunities.

But to Quenneville, it's not always about the end result when he evaluates his units.

"Maybe the numbers don't reflect the production or rate of offensive zone time, the shots or the traffic or puck possession," Quenneville said. "I think keeping the momentum in the game when your power play (is on the ice) is a measuring stick for us as well. Our power play was good, and it's been good. Maybe not at the rate it probably could be, but it's definitely not a problem."

The Blackhawks' power play has been a topic of discussion because they got off to such a hot start after last season's struggles and has cooled in recent weeks. The Blackhawks scored six power-play goals in their first four games and have four goals in their last nine games. During a recent six-game road trip, they went 2-for-23 on power plays.

On Tuesday, the Blackhawks returned home after their trip, and the power play was again in the spotlight. The Blackhawks scored one power-play goal against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, but they also squandered two 4-on-3 chances in overtime and lost in a shootout.

Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa has mixed feelings about the overtime power plays. He would have liked to convert on one, but he also believes they were creating positive chances.

"We could have won the last game with 4-on-3, but we had so many quality chances on that 4-on-3," Hossa said. "We just didn't score. That was a little disappointing, but I felt we had good looks there, good quality chances. That's good for the future."

Hossa believes the Blackhawks' power play shouldn't solely be judged on its production.

"We don't have to score all the time," Hossa said. "But you want to feel like you're creating momentum for your team, maybe score the next shift right after that. As long as we're creating something there, it's a positive thing."

The Blackhawks were getting more shots at the net on Tuesday than in recent games. They had eight shots on six power plays against the Ducks. They have scored at least one power play in six of the seven games they have had more shots than power-play chances this season. During their recent road woes, they had four games where they took three or less power-play shots.

While the Blackhawks aren't scoring a high rate on the power play, they also aren't often allowing other teams to capitalize on their power-play chances. The Blackhawks have given up four goals in 47 short-handed opportunities and rank second in the NHL with a 91.5 penalty-kill percentage. In their three shootout losses, they allowed one power-play goal in 13 chances.

Within the Western Conference's Central Division, the Blackhawks also rank second in power-play percentage. The St. Louis Blues lead the NHL with a 34.7 percentage and have scored 17 goals on 49 chances. The Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings are all under a 17.0 power-play percentage.

On penalty kills, the Predators and Blue Jackets are among the league's top-10 teams and the Blues and Red Wings are among the worst. The Blackhawks have 18 games against their division opponents this season.