May 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp (10) shoots the puck against Minnesota Wild center Kyle Brodziak (21) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Sorry ahead of time, for nitpicking the Chicago Blackhawks, who are off to a mighty fast start in the Playoffs, with a quick 2-0 lead in the series over the Minnesota Wild. While there is very little to complain about with a team being as successful as the Hawks have been thus far, there is one area that needs some work. The Power Play.
The Blackhawks Power Play has been quite a mystery the past couple of seasons. In the 2011-2012 season, the Blackhawks were ranked a dismal 26th in Power Play percentage in the NHL. This season, the Hawks slightly improved to a still disappointing 19th best in Power Play percentage. The reason the struggles on the man-advantage is such a mystery is because the Hawks boast arguably the best roster of offensive fire-power in the NHL. A Power Play that features guys like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp sounds about as good as can be, on paper. For some reason, the results have been disappointing in recent years.
Now, in the two games played in the series against the Wild, the Hawks are 1 for 7 on the Power Play thus far. Yes, this is an extremely small sample size, but the fact that the Power Play isn’t a colossal advantage to the Hawks, is rather irritating. Of course, in game 2 it wasn’t even needed, but the Hawks still went 0 for 4 on the man-advantage. Marian Hossa’s goal in game one was in fact a Power Play goal, but it came at the end of a poorly executed Power Play for the Hawks. I know, results are all that matter, but this anomaly of Power Play mediocrity became ridiculous a long time ago. What could and should be a tremendous advantage for the Hawks is in actuality a dud of a weapon that could possibly turn itself into an Achilles heel for the Hawks.
While no one should be anywhere near any sort of panic-button, obviously. This is an area that really should improve. While it is a small sample size in the midst of great success so far, it is one of the only areas of concern for the Blackhawks. Minnesota’s Penalty Kill unit was ranked 15th during the regular season, so they are beatable, and the Hawks should be beating them on the man-advantage more than they have so far. By beating them, I mean: generating quality scoring chances, fluid passing, and NO puck chasing. It can happen, and it should.
Right now though, the Hawks are up 2 games to none on the Wild, and that’s all that really matters.