Chicago’s power play (no, really) delivers 3-1 win over Boston

The Hawks came through on the man advantage.

A late power play goal helped the Chicago Blackhawks pull away from the Boston Bruins for a 3-1 win on Sunday afternoon at the United Center.

A man advantage in the first period led to a Chicago goal and an early 1-0 lead when a Jonathan Toews one-timer was tipped by Artem Anisimov and found its way past Boston goalie Anton Khudobin.

Boston took two more penalties in the first period, but those power plays came up empty.

After a quiet second period, Boston tied the game at one in the middle of the third peirod on a wrister from the ageless Zdeno Chara.

But Chara put the Hawks on the power play late in the third period with a double-minor for high sticking Brandon Saad. And just 18 seconds into that power play, Patrick Kane got some open space and fired the puck past Khudobin for a 2-1 Chicago lead with only 3:16 remaining.

Brent Seabrook put the game away just two minutes later, powering a slap shot between Khudobin’s legs to give the Hawks all the cushion they’d need.

3 Thoughts

Power play adjustments

The top power play unit has had a few players move around. Kane is now on the left side of the ice in the power play formation, with Toews set up on the right, while Erik Gustafsson maintains his spot on the point. Each player had a hand in goals, with Toews’ using his off-wing to line up for a one-timer that Anisimov tipped into the net. And Kane’s last goal came from that left side of the ice. Being over there means Kane has his body between the puck and the penalty killers whenever he’s looking to shoot. On the opposite side, the puck can be exposed to the PK unit, making it a little more difficult to get shots away. It may not be a permanent move, but it did pay off twice on Sunday.

One of Anton Forsberg’s better outings

It must be noted that Boston was missing several of its top players on Sunday’s game, but that was also the case when the Bruins picked the Hawks apart for seven goals on Saturday. But after Jean-Francois Berube had put together some strong starts that had his case to be next season’s backup goalie improving, Forsberg responded with a quality start of his own. That battle for the No. 2 spot behind Corey Crawford next season remains wide open.

Chicago’s puck possession numbers are sliding a bit.

For the last four games, Chicago has trailed its opponent in shot attempts, something that hasn’t happened much this season. That trend bottomed out in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, when the Hawks had just 33% of the game’s shot attempts. Boston held a 58-52 advantage today, with the Hawks cutting into a 42-25 deficit after two periods thanks to a possession-dominant third period. That’s one trend the Hawks should look to improve upon over the final month of the season.

3 Stars

  1. Patrick Kane (CHI) — Game-winning PPG, assist
  2. Anton Forsberg (CHI) — 30 saves
  3. Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 3 assists