Top line struggling to produce against Wild
May, 5, 2013
By Scott Powers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t too concerned that their top line had failed to score against the Minnesota Wild in the first two games of their Western Conference quarterfinals series because others were stepping up in their place and they were winning.
But with Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Wild, it became more noticeable that Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa haven’t scored an even-strength goal yet in the series.
Toews placed the blame on his line for being too patient with their opportunities.
“We’re just passing up chances and trying to make too many plays,” said Toews, who doesn’t have a point in the series. “They got good sticks. There’s a lot of obstruction out there. You can’t go out there and try and make pretty plays. It’s got to be ugly. We’re not doing that enough.
“Once we start doing that, we got the strength, speed, the skill to get on the board and make things happen and take it out of their hands instead of letting them be the guys to shut us down. It’s more up to us than anything.”
The top line combined for nine of the team’s 27 shots in Game 3, 12 of the 48 in Game 2 and eight of the 37 in Game 1. Hossa is the one of the trio to have a point in the series. He scored on the power-play unit in Game 1 and had an assist on Johnny Oduya's goal on Sunday.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t single out the top line for the team’s lack of offensive production on Sunday. He thought everyone had to do a better job.
“You have to look across the board. We didn’t produce the way we’d like, whether it was offensive zone time or shots on net,” Quenneville said. “We have to get greasy goals if we want to be successful and not have too much on the outside. We have to get determined in that tough area in front of the net.”
The final question asked to Quenneville in the postgame press conference was what the Blackhawks needed to do better. Quenneville’s answer was short and sweet.
“Shoot,” he said.