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Blackhawks penalty kill providing advantage in Final

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- In a series as tight as the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks need to continue killing penalties as well as they have in the first four games of the series.

The Blackhawks have killed off 10 of 11 Lightning power plays, one reason the best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I think when it comes down to the penalty kill, I think we've really always understood how big of a deal it is, especially to try and take away energy from a team like this," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday. "The last couple games it's been big for us."

Chicago's success on the penalty kill in the Cup Final far exceeds what the Blackhawks had done in the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they were 37-for-49 (75.5 percent). For the playoffs Chicago's penalty kill has a 78.3 percent success rate.

Tampa Bay's power play came into the Cup Final fifth among playoff teams at 22.2 percent. Chicago has defused that power play, especially the past two games at United Center.

In Game 3 the Blackhawks allowed two shots on goal during a Lightning 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period. In Game 4 they killed all four Lighting power plays, including three in the first period.

"Each team we've played in the playoffs has got some different things you got to be worried about," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've played some real good power plays. We've got a real good power play on the other side [in the Cup Final]. We've got to make sure that's a work in progress, no satisfaction with being where we're at."

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