CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday he believes winning or losing shootouts this year could determine a team's playoff fate due to the compact regular season.
"We were looking at our numbers the last couple of days about shootouts, and we really think the importance of shootouts this year is going to be tremendous," Quenneville said after Tuesday's practice at the United Center. "And it's going to make the difference in making the playoffs, winning a division, moving up in the seeding. It's going to be that close."
The Blackhawks struggled scoring in shootouts and ranked 22nd with a 25.0 scoring percentage to go with a 7-7 record. They scored 11 goals on 44 opportunities. But Hawks goalies excelled in shootouts with a .756 save percentage which ranked fifth in the league. They allowed 11 goals on 45 opportunities.
Quenneville hopes to find a third shootout option outside of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The pair combined for nine of the team's 11 shootout goals last season. Kane was tied for sixth in the league with six goals on 12 attempts, and Toews had three goals on seven attempts.
"Goalies have the advantage, but we were talking about it, we got (Toews), we got Kaner," Quenneville said. "We're looking for someone to jump up in that spot and where all of a sudden we're going to know who's going to be one, two or three."