Poking holes in the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks isn’t easy. They’re 34-6-5, had a record 24-game point streak to start the season, and are one win away from the No. 1 overall seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Nonetheless, poke away we shall.
For all the good in the Hawks’ game, the power play has appeared to be either a festering sore or a malignant tumor. But does it really matter?
Before Friday’s 5-4 win over Nashville, the PP had been a disaster—they had converted just once in their last 32 chances and had gone 21 straight opportunities without a power-play goal, before getting two in three chances during the victory. Yet, even with that minor resurgence, the Blackhawks’ PP is still in the bottom-half of the league, ranked 17th at 17.2%. If the poor play continues, that’ll hurt the Blackhawks’ chances of winning the Cup, right?
Surprisingly enough, a mediocre power play puts the Blackhawks in the company of recent Stanley Cup champions. Not since the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings has an eventual champion finished the regular season in the top half of the league in power-play success. And only twice has a team with a top power-play percentage reached the finals. In other words, what is supposed to be the Hawks’ signature weakness, has rarely kept a team from achieving the “One Goal” everyone craves.