ST. LOUIS — Patrick Sharp led the Blackhawks with 34 goals in the regular season. But he hasn’t scored in the playoffs. Cue the interrogation.
It’s not for lack of opportunity. Sharp entered Game 5 on Friday night with 33 shot attempts and 21 shots on goal. But he had zero points and a minus-1 rating. He had more tough luck in Game 5 — on a mini-breakaway in the first period his stick snapped and he fell to the ice.
“I’ll take all the [scoring] chances I can get — it means I’m creating something and doing something good out there,” Sharp said. “Sooner or later, they’re going to start going in.”
Sharp has history on his side. He scored 32 goals in 75 playoff games with the Blackhawks. He scored 11 goals in 2010 Cup run and 10 in last year’s title march..
“I feel like I’ve had a few good shots on net, but I’m usually used to getting a few more better looks,” Sharp said. “But they’re a good defensive team. They clog things up and they make it tough to get to the net. You put all that stuff together [and] it’s going to be tough to get as many looks as [in] the regular season.”
Coach Joel Quenneville has the luxury of not sweating when his leading goal scorer is not scoring in the playoffs.
“Top guys — eventually they’ll get their turn,” Quenneville said when asked about Sharp and teammate Marian Hossa, who also had not scored in the first four games before scoring the Hawks’ first goal (with assists from Bryan Bickell and Niklas Hjalmarsson) in Game 5. “Hopefully they can break out.”
All-around impact player
As one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL, Hossa in has made an impact on the series with his all-around game.
“Hossa’s greatest attributes aren’t his play with the puck, it’s his play without the puck,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He puts more pressure on people without the puck than anybody in the league. He doesn’t need to score to be a significant player.”
Backes is back
Blues forward David Backes returned to the ice for Game 5, giving the Blues an emotional lift from the start. Backes missed Games 3 and 4 after he was checked in the head by Brent Seabrook in Game 2.
Seabrook served the final game of his three-game suspension for the incident. He will be eligible to play in Game 6 on Sunday at the United Center.