How to get the shot through.
In today’s NHL, it’s one of the major challenges for any offense — even one with as much firepower as the Chicago Blackhawks.
Thursday night, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, the ‘Hawks had 27 of their shot attempts blocked by the Ducks. Only 28 of their attempts ended up on net, and only one went in during the 2-1 loss.
“Just means we’ve got to battle a little bit harder,” said forward Andrew Shaw.
That’s the typical response. It all comes down to hard work. Competing. Paying the price.
But Shaw’s, teammate, Brandon Saad has another suggestion.
“I think last night (we) played a little too much on the perimeter, trying to make too many plays,” Saad said. “I think when we delay the play, wait to find the perfect shot, they get a chance to get in the lane. The more we force it to the net, make quick plays, it’s going to be to our advantage.”
That’s more in line with the “play fast” mentality that most teams strive for, except usually we hear that phrase in terms of moving the puck quickly up the ice, forcing the defenders to turn while taking away their time to get set up in the neutral zone.
By the way, the Blackhawks had a tough time getting through the neutral zone, too.
“They have good sticks, five guys behind center all looking to check,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “I think getting it in sometimes is the best alternative, whether it’s on a net, a rim or a chip. … I think we got to use our speed to get center and get it behind them.”
During the Calgary series, Ducks center Ryan Kesler was asked what it takes to defeat a team with speed, like both the Flames and Blackhawks possess.
“Structure,” Kesler replied, per the Daily Breeze. “I think just playing as a five-man unit out there. … If we play really structurally sound, then they can’t break through us.”
And Thursday night, the ‘Hawks couldn’t.