The Blackhawks aren’t scoring a lot of goals, and captain Jonathan Toews hasn’t found the back of the net.
But his drought isn’t the only reason for the team’s dry spell.
The Hawks, who lost 2-0 Sunday to the Sharks, have scored eight goals in their last five games. The power play, which has a 16.2% conversion rate and entered Monday 22nd in the league, hasn’t been successful since Nov. 12 against the Coyotes.
“It’s just amazing, especially going through training camp and the beginning of the season,’’ winger Patrick Kane said. ‘‘We were just so confident, so comfortable on the power play. If you asked me where I thought we would finish, I would say top five for sure.”
Toews, of course, hasn’t connected in a regular-season game since March 5, 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic and the entire 2021 season he missed because of health issues. That’s why interim coach Derek King isn’t exactly shocked that Toews needs time to get back into a groove.
“It’s not minor hockey, you know?” King said. “You can get away with it there, but here, these players are good. These are good teams. They’re solid, they’re structured, and they play well. When you miss a year of hockey and you’re coming back and you don’t score for a while, it starts to get to you.”
Even though Toews hasn’t scored, King said he’s working hard and doing the things they ask him to do. In the same answer, King made a prudent point.
“He’s our leader, and he’s playing good hockey,” King said. “It’s just the pucks. Even [Sunday], there are pucks around his feet or going off his stick and bouncing over here. It’s just not clicking right now, and it’s not just him. It’s a bunch of them. We just have to stay the course and fight through this.”
As the statistics show, Toews isn’t the only Hawk seeking more goals.
Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach have three goals apiece in 21 games. Only Alex DeBrincat (12) is in double figures.
“Looking back at the road trip, we had some good chances five-on-five but didn’t find a way to put them in,” Kane said. “[On Sunday], I thought we carried most of the play. They did a good job of clogging it up there. [The Sharks] have some defensemen who are really good at blocking shots, and they did their job. But we have to find a way to capitalize in that situation.”
Playing through teams like the Sharks is something the Hawks have to figure out or more good performances will go to waste.
King believes that once a couple of pucks go in, more will follow.
“For the most part, the floodgates will open for some of these guys,” King said. “And if our power play starts clicking again, then we’re going to be on top of these teams, and we’re going to come out ahead.”
A clicking power play certainly would help. It went 0-for-2 against San Jose and continues to struggle without forward Tyler Johnson, who’s still on long-term injured reserve.
“Hopefully, we can get it going again and get that confidence like we had at the beginning of the season because it was fun to play like that,” Kane said. “You had possession, you had options, and we were moving it around well.”
NOTE: The Hawks recalled forward Josiah Slavin from Rockford and assigned forward Philipp Kurashev to the IceHogs. Slavin, a 2018 seventh-round pick, had eight points in 15 games for Rockford. Kurashev had five assists for the Hawks in 19 games.