The Chicago Blackhawks won their preseason game over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday by a final score of 6-4. Scores don’t matter in the preseason but evaluating things does. In this game, the Red Wings exposed something that has been a problem for the Blackhawks over the last few years.
Detroit had no business scoring as much as they did in this game but the Blackhawks allowed four power-play goals. Their penalty kill has been awful over the last few years and it doesn’t seem like things are better at this point in the preseason.
If the Blackhawks want to win more games in 2021-22, which they do, they need to be better at killing penalties. It would be nice to not take penalties but that is a part of hockey. When you do, you need to be better as a PK unit.
Over the last three seasons, only Detroit has had a worse penalty kill than Chicago. The Hawks have allowed the sixth-most power-play goals during that span. It is not the type of company that you want to keep as an NHL team. This preseason game doesn’t tell us that things will get better any time soon. They were only able to kill off one of Detroit’s five power plays.
This is not going to get it done. They have made some awesome roster additions this summer but it will all be for nothing if they can’t kill a penalty. They need some of these awesome defensive players to help them along. Jonathan Toews is back which should help along with additions like Tyler Johnson, Seth Jones, and Jake McCabe.
The Chicago Blackhawks need their penalty kill to improve and improve fast.
We know that the team has the players to outscore their opponent a lot. However, there will be tight games that need a big kill here and there. So far, nobody should have any faith in this PK unit to get it done.
How do you fix it? Well, the answer is to just scheme up different ways to kill penalties. There are a lot of good players that fit this role on the roster but they need to go out and execute. It needs to be a point of emphasis during skates more than anything now.
As the season creeps closer, they can’t be this bad when the other team takes the man advantage. Detroit has some good offensive players but they are nothing like some of the other teams the Hawks will see in the Western Conference.
As of right now, Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon are so excited to play against the Hawks’ penalty kill. Hopefully, it gets sorted out before things kick off for real. It is good to see this happen in the preseason so they can work on correcting it now before it is too late.