The special teams that had been such a bright spot for the Chicago Blackhawks
are fizzling during the Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers
The Blackhawks emerged from the West Finals against the San Jose Sharks
with a power play that was scoring 23 percent of the time and a penalty-killing unit that stifled the opposition at an 85.1-percent clip. All that fell apart during the first two games of the Final against the Flyers, but it didn't matter since the Blackhawks still found a way to win both games at the United Center.
That changed Wednesday in Game 3, when the power play went 0-for-3 and the penalty killers allowed two goals on three chances during the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime loss at the Wachovia Center. For the series, the Blackhawks are 0-for-6 on the power play and have allowed the Flyers to score four times in 10 chances with the extra man.
The Flyers scored their first two goals in Game 3 on the power play after Marian Hossa
and Dustin Byfuglien
were sent to the penalty box for taking slashing penalties that were far from necessary.
"We're taking too many penalties," said defenseman Brent Sopel
, who was on the ice for Scott Hartnell
's second-period power-play goal. "They're a great team. They've got a great power play. Give them credit. We definitely have to be a lot smarter in that area."
It's not as if the Flyers have been picking their spots and getting their goals against the Blackhawks' second-best defensive pairing. Of the four power-play goals they've scored in the series, defensemen Duncan Keith
and Brent Seabrook
have been on the ice for three of them.
Hartnell outworked Seabrook to retrieve a loose puck to set up Danny Briere
's first-period goal to make it 1-0 Philadelphia. And when the power play isn't clicking, it just compounds the problem.
"Their power play is pretty hot. Our power play isn't," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane
said. "We'd like to get some more opportunities on it (they had no power plays in Game 1). We feel like we can draw some more penalties. But their power play has been playing pretty good. We got to stay out of the box. We got to stop taking penalties."
What needs to change on the power play for it to be successful?
"We can do a lot of things differently," Keith said. "We need to shoot, keep it simple. That's about it."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DLozoNHL