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Blackhawks powerless against Ducks’ penalty-killers

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The best scoring chances on the Blackhawks’ first power play came from Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg. That’s problematic, considering those guys play for the Anaheim Ducks.

“It could be better, for sure,” Patrick Kane said.

After having just six power plays in the entire second-round series against Minnesota, the Hawks had three chances in Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday afternoon — and came up empty on all three. On the first one, Corey Crawford had to bail out his team when Kesler drove right through the Hawks defense to get a shorthanded shot on goal. Silfverberg missed just wide as the net was dislodged on the rebound.

More frustrating were the back-to-back power plays the Hawks had early in the third period, when they were trailing just 2-1. As they did on the first one, the Hawks sputtered through the first 60-90 seconds before finally applying some pressure in the waning seconds. Too little, too late.

“They like to push the pace when they’re shorthanded, so we’ve got to be aware of that and be sharp out there as a power-play unit,” said Brandon Saad, who had the Hawks’ best power-play chance when he was robbed by Frederik Andersen on a Brad Richards rebound in the third. “We can’t just keep thinking offense. We’ve got to be aggressive, but at the same time, we’ve got to be aware of who’s out there.”

Joel Quenneville frequently talks about at least salvaging some positive momentum out of power plays, even when the Hawks don’t score. They didn’t do that in the third period.

“Slowed us down in the momentum part of the game,” Quenneville said. “Those two power plays, we didn’t generate much. I think that was probably the turning point, when we lost the momentum of the game.”

That the last one came with Kesler in the box made it all the more frustrating for the Hawks.

“Our penalty kill has been doing the job, and that was, I think, one of the key moments of the game, with one of our best penalty killers in the box,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. “We were able to make some really good reads and I think frustrate them.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus