Here’s a look at what both the Hawks and Blues did, on Special Teams, this season.
Power Play Percentage
Penalty Kill Percentage
|Blackhawks||19.5%(10th in NHL)||81.4%(19th in NHL)|
|Blues||19.8%(7th in NHL)||85.7%(2nd in NHL)|
As you can see, the Blues have the advantage, when it comes to Special Teams. However, it is much closer than it looks. With Jonathan Toews returning, both the Power Play and the Penalty Kill will be receiving a big boost. The Hawks’ Power Play gets yet another big boost, with Patrick Kane returning as well.
The Blues’ Power Play is potent, due to big shots, on the blueline. Jay Boumeester and Alex Pietrangelo bring the power to the Blues’ Power Play. However, the Hawks Penalty Kill has been much improved, since the Olympic break, and was a huge reason why the Hawks skated off, with the Stanley Cup, last season. With Toews returning, expect the Hawks’ PK, to make things frustrating, for the Blues Power Play.
The best way, for the Hawks to kill St. Louis Power Plays, and thus take a big bite out of their offense, would be to not take penalties at all.
The Blues will be all about being physical and pushy, with the smaller, faster Hawks. The point in that, is to frustrate the Hawks into retaliating in the form of committing a stupid penalty, and therefore handing the Blues a chance, with the man-advantage.
Stupid penalties WILL happen, but they must be kept to a minimum, for the Hawks, if they want to advance to the next round.
The Hawks Power Play was slumping, going into the final game of the season. It was slumping even before Kane was injured, and thinks don’t look to be getting any easier, for the Hawks. The Blues have one of the best Penalty Kills, in the NHL, and will do their best to make sure the Hawks slump, on the man-advantage continues. A possible X-factor, for the Hawks Power Play could be the reemergence of Brent Seabrook, from his less-than-stellar regular season. Seabrook possesses a booming shot, from the blueline, and has his fair share of clutch post-season goals.
Can the Hawks break out of their Power Play slump? Absolutely! Few teams, in the NHL, have as much offensive fire-power, on the man-advantage, as the Hawks do, so anything is possible. Is it likely? Not really. The Hawks biggest advantage is 5-on-5 hockey, and if the Power Play were able to catch fire, it would be gravy.
The best way for the Hawks to gain an advantage, on Special Teams would be to stay out of the penalty box.
We’ll see what happens, as this series could go either way.