CHICAGO – The good news for the Chicago Blackhawks so far is that they’re not leaving as many points on the table this season as they did a year ago.
Last year, a trend of blowing third-period leads put the Hawks in a difficult position in the Western Conference standings at the end of the season – when about five teams were battling for the last two playoff spots.
Still, Chicago has lost both of the shootouts it’s been in through the first seven games and losing those extra points is unacceptable in their minds – especially with an all-star trio of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp making up the first three in their shootout lineup.
Alas, Toews and Kane – who’ve been good in shootouts historically – are both 0-for-2 so far, while Sharp is 0-for-1.
“There are key points that have been left on the board, especially in the shootout,” said Kane, who is 17-for-45 in shootouts for his career. “With the talent we have in our room, you definitely want to get that other point and we feel like we should every time. It’d be nice to get those. They add up at the end of the season when you’re picking spots for the Western Conference.”
Asked if maybe goalies are just getting better at shootouts, Toews scoffed at that notion.
“Nothing’s changed,” said Toews, who leads the Hawks with a mark of 19-for-39 in shootouts for his career. “Everybody wants to talk about (shootouts) since Kaner and I are 0-for-2, but we’ve had a pretty good history at that. We’ve got a lot of good shooters on this team, so at the end it’s the coach’s decision if they want to mix things up, but when we’re in that situation we trust fully the guys who are going out there. It’s not for lack of trying. Sometimes it just doesn’t go in.”