DALLAS — For the first time ever, the Blackhawks tried a five forward arrangement on their top power play unit.
This approach does away with defensemen and makes forward Philipp Kurashev, along with Patrick Kane, Max Domi Jonathan Toews, Taylor Raddysh, and Jonathan Toews, the fifth man in group. Although Kurashev is a bit more defensively responsible than the others, he’s still primarily there for the offensive threat.
Coach Luke Richardson stated, “Early in power plays, we don’t need to worry about it if our strong plays at top and not being risky [by trying seam passes]] too much…
Five forwards will be more interchangeable between positions, which allows the Hawks to establish more player movement. This will allow them to spread out and create opposing penalty kills. However, there is a risk that the PK will launch a counterattack.
He said, “Sometimes you need to be a bit more aware before they have the puck.” “If Kane is in the corner and looks like he has no out, Kurashev and Domi may need to take a step back from the blue line just in case. This stuff is discussed just in case.
Richardson does not intend to use the five forward setup for the first minute of each powerplay, but will instead deploy two defensemen to the second ‘PP’ unit. Seth Jones might be able to return to full strength soon enough to end the experiment.
The Hawks’ power play was in the middle of the pack, with a 21.4% conversion ratio — ranking 14th among the NHL — as they entered Wednesday. They had gone 3-for-23 in their eight previous games. They were 28th in scoring opportunities per minute.
Forward Jujhar Karha has been a shining light lately. After only four points in his 39 first Hawk games, he entered Wednesday with points in two of his three most recent games. He also scored a goal against the Penguins on Sunday. He was moved to the third line, alongside Jason Dickinson.
This is his best confidence-wise since his major concussion in December last year.
He said, “It’s trending upward.” “I feel more at ease out there skating the puck, and trying to create more offense.”