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Success rate down, but Blackhawks happy with PK

Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / Stanley Cup Final series blog

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Stanley Cup Final series blog
Success rate down, but Blackhawks happy with PK

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have allowed more power-play goals to the Boston Bruins through the four games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final than they did against the three other teams they eliminated coming into this series.

Chicago's success rate prior to facing the Bruins was 94.8 percent (55 of 58), tops in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it is 71.4 percent (10 of 14) in the Cup Final heading into Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

Is there something to it, or is that 23 percent drop more of an aberration than it might seem?

The Blackhawks said they feel it's more of the latter than the former.

"I think our penalty kill's been pretty good," Chicago center Dave Bolland said Saturday after the morning skate. "They've had four goals, but you're going to have breakdowns. It's going to happen. I think we've still stayed strong. We've still stuck to our game plan. We haven't gotten away [from] it. We've had some goals against, but I think those are going to come. You have to go over those and see what happened, but I think overall our PK has been pretty good."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville tends to agree. Though there's no denying the numbers are worse against the Bruins than they were against the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, Quenneville also pointed out that at least a couple of goals in the Final were the result of extenuating circumstances.

One, scored by Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, came off a 5-on-3 situation, and the two allowed in Game 4 Wednesday at TD Garden needed some fortunate bounces to find the back of the net.

Rich Peverly's goal, which tied it 1-1 in the first, happened a couple seconds after Chicago rookie Brandon Saad coughed up the puck while falling down in the slot attempting to clear it. Bergeron had a puck that caromed off the back glass and bounced off top of the net plop down at his feet at the front edge of the crease for a power-play goal late in the second.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring in Game 4 while shorthanded when Michal Handzus capped a 2-on-1 with his third goal of the playoffs and Chicago's second while killing a penalty.

Chicago won Game 4, 6-5 in overtime, to even the best-of-7 series 2-2.

"I think they've done some different things [on the power play]," Quenneville said of the Bruins. "You look at the last game, one [we] had the puck on our stick and then another one was bounced over from the glass, bounced on top of the net right on top of their stick. I think the way we're doing things and evolving what they're doing to us is something that we'll always be continuing to move forward and be aware of. [We'll] just continue to try and be aware of what they're up to and nullify [it] as best we can."

That effort entails the same basic game plan when down a man or two.

"The approach is the same," Bolland said. "We're trying to make sure they don't score, but we're also trying to break it down and make sure they don't get it into our zone and set up as quick as they want to and we want to get that puck out as quick as we [can]."

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

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