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Blackhawks notebook: Power play ‘frustrated’ by lack of payoff

The Hawks’ PP, which ranks 20th in the NHL, went 0-for-4 on Saturday against the Predators despite attempting 24 shots.

Jonathan Toews’ efforts weren’t enough for the Blackhawks’ power play to score Saturday.
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Blackhawks’ power play did everything Saturday that should make it successful.

Jonathan Toews won seven of eight faceoffs. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat connected on a number of cross-seam passes. Seth Jones was trigger-happy with his one-timer. Kirby Dach retrieved loose pucks effectively.

But the result was another dissatisfying outcome — an 0-for-4 stat line, contrasting sharply with the Predators’ 2-for-3 line in the 6-1 loss — in a largely dissatisfying season for the power play.

“We were moving it pretty well,” Jones said. “For the power play kind of struggling this year, that’s one of the better games we’ve had overall.”

The Hawks attempted 10 shots during one first-period sequence alone and finished with 24 attempts, 12 shots on goal, 11 scoring chances and three high-danger chances in eight minutes of power-play time. But they couldn’t get the puck across the line.

They entered the holiday break on a decent run — going 7-for-28 over their last nine games — but still rank 20th in the NHL with an 18.0% conversion rate this season. That’s in spite of ranking 14th in scoring chances per minute.

“They were getting frustrated,” interim coach Derek King said. “I was trying to calm them down, [saying] like, ‘You’re -getting good looks.’ A lot of times if you’re not getting looks, that’s when you get a little frustrated. But when you’re getting good looks like that, you’ve just got to stay with it.”

Kurashev rising

Since returning to the Hawks’ lineup Dec. 9 after a brief AHL stint, Philipp Kurashev has looked far more like the dynamic, if complementary, offensive weapon he was last season.

Kurashev scored again Saturday, his second goal in four games after a string of 21 without finding the net. He seemingly has been more aggressive, posting 11 shots and eight scoring chances over his last three games.

Canadian games in question

Most of the NHL’s recent game postponements have not been caused by -COVID outbreaks but rather new Canadian fan restrictions or bans. Hoping to maximize revenue, the league will try to reschedule the games when fans will be allowed again.

For the Hawks, that effort already has cost them one game: at the Jets last Wednesday. It soon could cost them another.

The Oilers have had numerous home games postponed through just before the Hawks’ scheduled visit Jan. 18.

Outside of that, though, the Hawks have just one more Canadian road game this season — March 12 at the Senators.