Chicago Blackhawks: faceoffs

Blackhawks Rewind: Observations from Hawks-Oilers

November, 26, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Here are four observations from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.

1. Monday was a positive performance for the Blackhawks’ penalty kill. The Blackhawks killed off all three of the Oilers’ power plays. The Oilers came into the night scoring five power-play goals in their previous two games. The Blackhawks used forward combinations of Marcus Kruger-Michal Handzus, Kruger-Ben Smith, Jonathan Toews-Handzus, Toews-Brandon Saad, Saad-Brandon Bollig and Handzus-Saad during the game. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill is still a work in progress, but Monday could be another confidence booster. They improved their penalty-kill percentage to 73.6 on the season.

2. Goaltender Corey Crawford took some criticism for his recent struggles and now deserves some credit for the way he’s responded. He’s bounced back from allowing an average of 3.33 goals from Nov. 10-21 to giving up just one goal in each of his last two starts. He didn’t need to work as hard Monday as he did against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, but he was solid again. He made 11 saves in the third period against the Oilers and was especially impressive when he leapt backward and batted a puck out of the air which was heading toward the net in the third period. He’s now played in 15 consecutive games and has a day off coming soon. He leads all goaltenders with 23 games played and is second in time on ice. He’s 16-4-3 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .911 save percentage on the season.

3. Forward Andrew Shaw was only a few inches away from a hat trick. He just missed getting his stick on the puck before it slid into the net from his leg kick during a power play in the third period. Even with the goal being waved off, Shaw had a quality game. He made himself a nuisance around the net all game and was rewarded with an assist off Patrick Kane’s goal, a goal from a 2-on-1 with Jeremy Morin and a goal when he redirected a Nick Leddy shot. He also set up the odd-man rush with Morin when he broke up a pass and deflected the puck to Morin. Shaw has already matched his point total of last season. He has 15 points, including seven goals and eight assists, in 25 games this season. He had 15 points in 48 games last season.

4. The Blackhawks continue to get it done at the dot. The Blackhawks have won more faceoffs than they’ve lost in their last five games. The last time they lost in faceoffs was to the Nashville Predators on Nov. 16. The Blackhawks rank sixth in the league with a 52.6 faceoff winning percentage. They were tied for 10th last season with a 50.8 percentage. The Blackhawks were 31-28 at the dot Monday, and that was despite Shaw going 1-of-8. Toews led the way and was 10-of-18. He’s sixth in the NHL with a 57.7 percentage.

Faceoffs, power plays doom Hawks

June, 18, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks can point to plenty of reasons for their 2-0 loss Monday to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, but coach Joel Quenneville put his finger on two specific areas -- faceoffs and power plays.

The Blackhawks wasted all five of their power-play chances in Game 3 and extended their goal-less streak to 20 consecutive power plays, including all 11 in the finals.

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Five things to watch in Game 5

May, 25, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Here are five things to watch for between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series Saturday:

1. First scorer: The team that has scored the first goal has won three of the series’ first four games. The only exception was Game 2, when the Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead and the Red Wings responded with four consecutive goals. The second period has also been vital in the series. The Red Wings have outscored the Blackhawks 5-0 in the second period.

2. Superstar line: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is desperate to score and appears to be combining his big guns to get that done in Game 5. Quenneville put together Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp on a line in Saturday’s morning skate. Kane and Toews tied for a team-leading 23 goals in the regular season, and Sharp has scored a team-best six goals in the playoffs. The trio didn’t play together much this season, but they have in the past.

3. Power-play difference: The Red Wings scored their first power-play goal of the series in Game 4, and it decided the game. Look for special teams to potentially make the difference again in Game 5. The Blackhawks haven’t scored a power-play goal since the first period of Game 1 and have been shut out on their past 11 chances. The Red Wings are 1-for-15 on the power play in the series.

4. Toews factor: Toews has yet to score in nine playoff games. He also went through a nine-game scoring drought in the 2009 playoffs. In the 10th game in 2009, he broke out with two goals and an assist to help eliminate the Vancouver Canucks.

5. Faceoff edge: The Red Wings have continued to beat the Blackhawks in the circle. The Red Wings have won the faceoff battle in each game and are 131-112 for the series. Toews was the only Blackhawk to win more faceoffs than he lost in Game 4.

Toews: Hawks not cheating on faceoffs

May, 8, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday he disagreed with Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo's recent suggestion that the Blackhawks were cheating on faceoffs during their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

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Patrick Kane
53 23 30 9
GoalsP. Kane 23
AssistsP. Kane 30
+/-D. Rundblad 15
GAAC. Crawford 2.32