Over the last few games, the Chicago Blackhawks power-play has blossomed.
If I were to tell you two months ago that the Blackhawks power play would heat up, you would call me crazy and have me committed right? But now, I think I would be the one laughing. It’s no secret, the past few seasons, the power-play for the Chicago Blackhawks has been hot garbage. And this season has been no different, until now.
What’s changed though? Could it be the fact the team traded away a guy in Nick Schmaltz? Which not to bag on the guy, but he made low percentage passes instead of shooting. Or could it be that the team has had the tools, and they have been there all along?
I think it’s a combination of both. I feel as if at times, there is absolutely too much time spent on the perimeter, meaning the puck is on the blue line. However, seeing the cross ice one time pass from Patrick Kane to Alex DeBrincat will never get old. You probably wonder how a 31st ranked power-play could move up to 16th in the league in 20 games.
It’s simple when you think about it, Eddie Olczyk I feel says it best. “When you win the face-off, you dictate the terms. Pucks and people to the front of the net.”
I think you’re seeing the man advantage get rewarded now. Also, another change is that, there is better puck movement. Not a lot of guys are standing still, and if they are, they are sitting on the bench.
Now, does it help having a guy like Kane on your #1 unit? Of course, but it cannot be one guy doing all the work. I think you’re seeing a more consistent effort from the top power-play line. Currently, Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton has Kane playing alongside Jonathan Toews, DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson. Colliton’s brilliance has paid off, but as long as you know how to add power-play points, you can figure out exactly why Colliton chose who he did for his first line. Colliton chose the players that had the most power-play points to sit on his first line. Together, the five players have totaled 69 power-play points.
Now, when a penalty gets called, I’m ecstatic. The Blackhawks are playing great 5v4/5v3 hockey and there is no reason to worry.
stats from NHL.com and hockey-reference.com
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals