Late into the 2009-10 regular season, I took a look at one of my simple stats: special teams plus/minus. At that point in the season, the Chicago Blackhawks ranked as the second best team in that area (scoring 18 more special teams goals than they allowed) while the Philadelphia Flyers took seventh place.
The Blackhawks should be pleased that they have a 2-1 series lead because their normally stout special teams is become a big “minus” so far. NHL.com points out the growing disparity between the two teams’ specialty units.
That changed Wednesday in Game 3, when the power play went 0-for-3 and the penalty killers allowed two goals on three chances during the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime loss at the Wachovia Center. For the series, the Blackhawks are 0-for-6 on the power play and have allowed the Flyers to score four times in 10 chances with the extra man.
To be fair, Dave Bolland did score a significant shorthanded goal in Game 1. No doubt about it, though, the Blackhawks need to get more out of their powerplay and should also do more to limit the Flyers’ success.
The really glaring thing, for me, is the lack of powerplays for Chicago. To start the series, Chicago surprisingly didn’t get a single chance on the PP. Since then they’ve only averaged a single PP opportunity per period and overall average 2 PPs per game. Sometimes powerplay success is about the quantity of the chances you receive and the rhythm you can create while on the man advantage.
After two tough games, Chicago’s two biggest offensive weapons (Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) finally broke free and created some offense. Perhaps the Blackhawks can get over the powerplay hump in Game 4, then? Either way, the Flyers are sticking with this series by being resourceful and creating timely offense.
Sooner or later, the Blackhawks are going to need to get their special teams in order or their near-50 year wait to raise the Cup again will need to continue.
Ryan Johansen played 309 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets before a blockbuster trade to Nashville last January.
On Sunday, he finally made his return back to Columbus as a member of the Predators. However, he did not receive any sort of tribute whatsoever from the team that originally selected him fourth overall in the 2010 draft, and that is something that apparently bothered him.
“I am a little disappointed they didn’t put anything on the Jumbotron and say ‘thank you’ or anything like that,” Johansen told the Columbus Post-Dispatch. “I think we all know who made that call, but whatever.”
While Johansen enjoyed some productive seasons with the Blue Jackets, his time in Columbus, particularly his final months, were dogged with contentious headlines about his contract negotiations with the club and then his working relationship with coach John Tortorella.
Johansen, now 24 years old, has nine goals and 40 points in 58 games this season for Nashville. Currently in the final year of his three-year, $12 million contract, he’s a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Brent Burns turned in a dominating performance. But Brad Marchand had the last laugh.
Marchand scored his 25th goal of the season and, more importantly, the overtime winner for the Boston Bruins as they defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Sunday.
That’s Boston’s fourth consecutive win since the controversial coaching change — which took another twist earlier in the week when the rival Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien and hired Claude Julien. Off a defensive zone faceoff, Marchand bolted up the ice for the breakaway pass, on what appeared to be a set play, beating Martin Jones through the legs.
The Bruins move back into third in the Atlantic Division, and are now only four points back of the faltering Habs for first.
Meanwhile, the Sharks were unable to fully capitalize on another freakish Brent Burns outing. He’s been dubbed ‘an unstoppable force’ in recent posts at PHT — a defenseman possessing great size at six-foot-five-inches tall and 230 pounds, but no shortage of mobility and offensive talent with 27 goals and 64 points in 60 games. Um, and did we mention he’s a defenseman. . . ?
Against the Bruins, he had 20 shot attempts — by far the most of any player in this game — in just over 26 minutes of ice time.
Given the final score, that probably doesn’t mean much to Brad Marchand.
It appears Jacob Trouba will face supplemental discipline from the NHL.
The league’s Department of Player Safety has said in a Twitter statement that Trouba, the Winnipeg Jets defenseman, will have a hearing tomorrow for his head shot on Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone during Sunday’s game.
Trouba was assessed only a minor penalty on the play. Stone, who dealt with a concussion prior to the beginning of the season, stayed down on the ice before he eventually made his way to the dressing room.
The incident occurred when Trouba stepped up to throw a hit on Stone, but instead caught him in the head as he followed through, sending Stone to the ice.
Stone was one of three Ottawa forwards to leave the game because of injuries, which are piling up for the Senators.
The Tampa Bay Lightning needed overtime to defeat the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, but it’s a critical win for the Bolts as they try to chase down a playoff spot.
The hero? Jonathan Drouin, and he did so with a thrilling individual effort — making moves, then losing the puck and then immediately getting it back before he finally scored on the backhander.
That’s his 17th goal of the season. Tampa Bay gets a 3-2 win, which keeps them five points back of Toronto for the final wild card spot in the East.