Blackhawks sure chances will lead to goals

Blackhawks sure chances will lead to goals

Friday, 04.25.2014 / 5:32 PM
Dan Rosen  - NHL.com senior writer

ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have had Grade A scoring chances off crisp in-zone cycles, odd-man rushes and breakaways in the Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues.

It hasn't amounted to anything on the score sheet yet.

"For a goal-scorer, if the puck doesn't go in, it can get frustrating," Hossa said.

Game 5 Friday at Scottrade Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, CSN-CH, FS-MW) offers the duo another chance to make a positive impact, so they're brushing aside any of their lingering frustration and focusing on the opportunity to make amends.

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 2-2.

"I'll take all the chances I can get; it means I'm creating something and doing something good out there," Sharp said. "Sooner or later they're going to start going in."

Hossa leads the Blackhawks with 21 shots on goal; Sharp is second with 18. No other Blackhawks player has more than 13 (Patrick Kane).

Hossa has one point, an assist on Bryan Bickell's game-tying goal Wednesday in Game 3, and a minus-2 rating. Sharp has no points and is minus-1. They combined for 64 goals and 74 assists in the regular season.

"We think that top guys, eventually they're going to get their turn and hopefully they can break out," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Sharp had a breakaway late in the second overtime of Game 1 but shot into the chest of Blues goalie Ryan Miller. Sharp had an open net to shoot at late in the second period of Game 2 but missed wide. In the first period of Game 4, he had a chance from the left post with Miller down on the ice but couldn't lift the puck over Miller's outstretched arm.

"I feel like I've had a few good shots on net, but I'm usually used to getting a few more better looks," Sharp said. "But they're a good defensive team, they clog things up and they make it tough to get to the net. You put all that stuff together it's going to be tough to get as many looks as the regular season."

Hossa has had better looks when he's had either Ben Smith or Jonathan Toews as the center on his line instead of Michal Handzus. Hossa generates more speed with Smith and Toews, who are faster than Handzus.

Quenneville had Handzus between Sharp and Hossa in the morning skate Friday. The coach likes that line because it can match up against any of the Blues lines. Hossa is a big reason with his play away from the puck.

"He puts more pressure on people without the puck than anybody in the League and he's done it since I've been coaching against him in Ottawa," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He doesn't need to score to be a significant player. He causes more turnovers other than Toews, than anybody up front on their team. He's got great jump on stoppages, play, out of scrums, faceoffs. Maybe he doesn't score for a week, but he has a huge impact in the game."

When Quenneville has felt the Blackhawks need more offense, he has moved up Smith to play between Hossa and Sharp. In Game 4, Quenneville adjusted that, putting Hossa on a line with Toews and Bickell, and Sharp with Smith and Kane. Bickell scored the tying goal, and Kane scored the overtime winner.

"We've always said of [Hossa] whether he's producing or not how valuable he is to the team game and how efficient he is," Quenneville said. "He still brings quality ice times to our PP, PK, 5-on-5. That line you can trust no matter what defensively because he just has a quickness to his game.

"Sometimes he goes in stretches like this where they're not going in for him offensively, but at the same time, playing the right way, when you're not scoring and you're a scoring type of guy, I think you're just enhancing your team game and eventually you're going to get some production. With that, we're looking for some."

Email Back to top ↑