Chicago Blackhawks: Power Play, Defense Cause for Concern
It’s no secret that the Chicago Blackhawks know how to score goals. With stars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and many others already scoring more than 10 goals this season, the team is goal-hungry. There is just one problem with the scoring. Team defense has become an afterthought.
Even if you haven’t seen a Blackhawks’ game all season, Thursday’s game showed everything you need to see about the 2019-20 Blackhawks. The team can score goals, play amazing offensively, but they aren’t good on the power play and they neglect defensive responsibilities.
On Thursday, there were so many saves Robin Lehner had to make that were unreal. Lehner had way too many fast-break opportunities he had to save. In the third period alone, I counted multiple two-man breaks. He made some unreal saves last night to keep the team in the game. Lehner shared his thoughts after the game.
My problem with this team is their lack of shooting on the power play. If this team can put Kane and Toews out there on the power play, why are they regularly in the bottom half of the league in power-play efficiency? During the last 11 games, the Blackhawks’ penalty kill has improved, but it seems to me that their power play has gotten worse.
I will admit this, I don’t remember a Chicago Blackhawks’ team with a great power play. They’ve struggled on the power play for a long time. They do the same thing each with each man-advantage opportunity. Kane gets the puck, he shoots, the puck gets passed around until Kane is open again, etc. Sometimes, there will be a defenseman taking a shot from the point, but it’s normally just a passing nightmare.
Jeremy Colliton needs to get that under control if he wants to take this team to the playoffs. There is no excuse for being up 4-2 in the third period and losing the game. This isn’t the first time they’ve blown big leads in the third period this season.
Their most recent loss to the St. Louis Blues was the same story. The Blackhawks were up 3-0 in the third period and found a way to lose that game too.
There was no excuse to lose to Vancouver in the way they did. This was an important game, where a win would bring the Blackhawks within two points of a playoff spot. Now, they have to dig deeper and jumpstart a new win streak just to back into the playoff picture.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ next four games are at home. They need to get points out of the next few games. Three of the four games are also against Western Conference teams. The Blackhawks have a chance to grab six points from Western Conference opponents within the next week.
Either way, the team keeps finding themselves in new holes after digging themselves out of them. Those next four games at home are must-win. During those games, the Blackhawks have to focus on their defensive play and stop neglecting that. Patrick Kane touched on this topic after last night’s loss.
They also need to work on their power play. The Chicago Blackhawks’ power play should be something that is a gamechanger, not a waste of time.
On Sunday, the team is back at the United Center to face off against the Detroit Red Wings. It’s always fun playing against an old rival in the Red Wings. Both teams are currently last place in their respective divisions, but when it comes to these two teams, standings don’t mean a single thing.