Blackhawks continue to roll with a 5-2 win over Dallas - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Blackhawks continue to roll with a 5-2 win over Dallas

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Blackhawks captured two points with a 5-2 win over Dallas Monday night and increased their point total to 70, an NHL high. It was the Hawks sixth consecutive victory as Dallas lost for the first time in six games.

The Hawks let the Stars back in the contest when they evened the score at two, early in the third frame. The Stars hope for an upset was quickly dashed with an Andrew Shaw goal 1:24 later. For the most part, Dallas didn't look like a playoff club and took some careless penalties. Maybe more credit should be given to the Blackhawks who are making most teams look bad lately.

The one sore point is the Chicago power play which hasn't been generating enough scoring chances and went 0-4 on Monday night. Fortunately the penalty killing unit has been on fire with a 26 out of 27 success rate. The penalty killing unit ranks fifth in the NHL and has been very solid for the entire season. That along with fine overall team defense has made up for the shoddy power play. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa have been extra good, actually most everything is going well except for the power play.

Joel Quenneville is trying many different combinations and setups to get the power play to click but nothing has worked. Despite being loaded with scoring talent, even without the injured Patrick Sharp, the Blackhawks power play ranks 21st in the NHL.

Many times close games boil down to special teams, and Quenneville will be hoping power play woes won't cause a playoff series loss. The Hawks are playing so well in other areas, they may be able to make a long playoff run despite a poor power play. There is another factor that may come into play in the postseason if the power play stays powerless.

Teams will be looking to play as rough as possible when facing the Blackhawks. Many times, more physical play is tolerated by referees during the postseason. To take it one step further, probably no other sports tweaks their rules during the playoffs more than the NHL.

If opponents don't have any fear of getting scored on while in the penalty box they could inflict even more punishment. Also, if teams aren't afraid to get caught holding or hooking, the Hawks will have a more difficult time generating offense. It would be better if opponents had more fear not less of being sent to the penalty box. Without a decent power play that won't happen.

Quenneville realizes the same and his top priority will be to get the power play going. Getting Sharp healthy should make some difference but it will take more. The Hawks will not practice Tuesday, but likely on Wednesday and Thursday a great deal of time will be focused on fixing the power play.

This year's power play is looking as bad as last year's version and sometimes a poor run can feed on itself. Often teams have difficulty throughout an entire campaign and never shake a slump.

These Blackhawks have been almost fault-free, power play woes have been about the only area of concern. With the playoffs quickly approaching, Quenneville will be working hard to get the power play to at least respectable status.

Al's Shots

The word going around on Sharp is he could play now if needed. He did take a few stiff checks after returning from his shoulder injury and it wouldn't be a shock if he is a bit sore. Shoulder injuries can linger so Sharp will rest until he's 100 percent healthy.

Another player with some injury concerns is Dave Bolland. I'm not sure if it is a combination of a lingering back and foot problem, or one or the other but Bolland isn't moving well.

Outside of going 15-4 in the faceoff circle, which is one of Bolland's best performances, he looks to have lost a step or two. He isn't as quick and has been getting hit hard along the boards. Maybe being a little slower is the reason Bolland is exposing himself to some heavy contact.

Patrick Kane didn't have a shot on goal Monday night and was trying to force things. Kane was guilty of a costly turnover which led to the first goal for Dallas, and the momentum swung the Stars way for awhile.

Kane has recorded only one goal and three assists over the last seven games. The way Bolland is playing, it isn't helping Kane. Sharp being out doesn't help either so there are reasons why Kane has cooled off.

If Bolland doesn't bounce back Quenneville will have no choice but to try another center on the second line.

Those still trying to understand why the Hawks get outhit almost every game should watch Monday night's contest again. Dallas was dominated for much of the match and were chasing the Hawks throughout.

The Stars were credited with 46 hits, which is a lot anywhere, but especially so on the road. Hits can be useful but as long as the Hawks move the puck and play at a quick pace they don't matter all that much.

If you want to look at one stat that is very meaningful and can depict quality of play it is goal differential. This stat reflects the difference between goals scored and goals allowed. A positive number indicates more goals scored than allowed.

The Blackhawks goal differential is +52 and there's no other team close. The next best goal differential is Pittsburgh with a +39.

Johnny Oduya had a strong game versus the Stars. He made a nice play to break up a scoring chance just before Kane set up Andrew Shaw for the winning goal.

Viktor Stalberg has been playing well and he finally finished off a scoring chance Monday night.

The Hawks will be idle until Nashville visits the United Center on Friday.

I will be back on Saturday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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