While the Blackhawks came away with a resounding victory tonight, there is still a looming problem that they need to correct: their discipline.
The ‘Hawks went to the penalty box five times in this game, including a first-period double-minor for high-sticking against Duncan Keith. I sometimes feel like a broken record when I talk about Chicago’s lack of discipline this year, but giving any opposing team that many chances on the powerplay is rarely going to work out in the Blackhawks’ favor.
Luckily for the Blackhawks, they were playing a Detroit team that not only has the third-worst offense in the league, but also the second-worst powerplay percentage. While Chicago’s penalty kill did play well tonight in not allowing many chances, they simply have to be more disciplined and learn to stay out of the box. Not every team that they face is going to have a horrendous offense like the Wings, and at some point, their luck is going to run out.
This isn’t to say that they are completely off the rails, but there were a few bad penalties tonight that simply shouldn’t have occurred, such as Ian Mitchell’s cross-check in the third period. To put it plainly, staying out of the sin bin is a key aspect of any good hockey team, and the ‘Hawks have to be better at it.
They will have plenty of chances to take fewer penalties next week, as the end of the season inches closer. Despite tonight’s win, their playoff hopes are still teetering on the brink. Hopefully, we will be seeing fewer calls against Chicago going forward.