Through two regular season games, Chicago’s penalty kill has been abysmal.
Not only did they give up three power play goals in their opener against St. Louis , but they allowed Nashville to score another three on Friday night.
So, what can they do to fix their special teams struggles?
Well, a few of the goals they’ve conceded have come with heavy traffic in front of the net (see P.K. Subban’s goal from last night). Helping their goalie see the puck a bit better is an option.
But Jonathan Toews recommends a simpler solution.
“Yeah it was definitely the gaping hole in our game,” Toews said of his team’s ability to kill penalties, per CSN Chicago. “Across the board we had a much better effort and even if we do get the penalty kills that we didn’t get tonight, it still takes a lot of energy out of your game. So we have to smarten up and find ways to stay out of the box and we’ll go from there.”
Head coach Joel Quenneville acknowledged that they’ll have to do a better job when they’re a man down, but he also mentioned discipline.
“Last game they were going in from [one] side tonight it was through the middle,” Quenneville said. “Whether we didn’t front properly or they had traffic at the net, certainly we have to have better discipline and stay out of the box as well. We still could’ve had some offense that could’ve got us back in there to get an equalizer but we didn’t generate enough.”
The ‘Hawks took seven minor penalties (plus two fighting majors) against Nashville and some of those were for silly things like embellishment, closing the hand on the puck and multiple stick violations.
Against the Blues, Chicago was whistled for five more minor penalties (four were stick violations).
Even though their PK will likely stabilize, Toews and Quenneville are right, staying out of the box is the key.