Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From Game 3

By Colin Likas
2 of 3

May 21, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) after the game against the Anaheim Ducks in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The powerplay was putrid. Q’s bad lineup decisions were narrowly overshadowed by arguably the most inept powerplay output in conference finals history. A pair of extra-man tallies in Game 2 offered an indication the ’Hawks were turning a corner with their powerplay woes. And then they received five powerplays in Game 3 and recorded just one shot on goal. One. And they only attempted eight total shots, according to War on Ice. For a team that employs Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Sharp, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad at forward, as well as Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook at defense, that’s an embarrassing statistic. The ’Hawks’ powerplay was so basic and yet so disorganized, allowing the Ducks to read every entry with ease. Chicago frequently stood three forwards at the blue line and had a fourth carry the puck into a host of Ducks, who just held their ground and waited for that to happen. The alternative was chipping the puck in but not being able to win board battles or chases to retrieve the puck. When the ’Hawks actually did get set up, their plan was to get the puck to the point … and nowhere else. This allowed the Ducks to read passes and easily get in front of any shots that were actually taken.

The ’Hawks’ powerplay style has been a pain for a long time, but it really damaged the team’s chances of winning Game 3, especially with how many opportunities Chicago had. On top of that, Versteeg and Bryan Bickell found homes on the powerplay and contributed absolutely nothing. Neither are good puck movers, and Bickell’s sole purpose on the man advantage (screening Frederik Andersen) never materialized. Interestingly, Teuvo could be a positive contribution to either powerplay unit, but he was scratched. So both the execution and personnel on the powerplay contributed to its brutal struggles in Game 3, and it was a huge reason the ’Hawks didn’t win the outing.