Neither Seth Jones nor any other Blackhawks defenseman has scored a power-play goal since May 2021.
AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker
The streak has lasted so long that it has almost been forgotten. But it still exists.
Indeed, the Blackhawks have gone 122 consecutive games without a defenseman scoring a power-play goal.
Connor Murphy was the last to do it on May 1, 2021, against the Panthers. Last season, the Hawks became the first team since the 1970-71 Sabres to go an entire season without one. And 35 games into this season, the Hawks are on pace to do so again. They’re one of only four NHL teams without one.
Seth Jones has produced some decent chances to snap the ridiculous drought this season. He has recorded 33 shot attempts and eight scoring chances on power plays. Other Hawks defensemen, primarily Caleb Jones, have added 24 shot attempts and another eight scoring chances.
But with no luck Saturday against the Blue Jackets, the streak has now stretched into 2023, its third calendar year.
Saturday was a rough afternoon all around for the Hawks’ power play, which went 0-for-5 while allowing two shorthanded goals (although one was an empty-netter). They enjoyed plenty of zone time and ripped off 15 shot attempts and five scoring chances, but to no avail.
That was disappointing given the progress the unit demonstrated Thursday against the Blues, a night highlighted by Patrick Kane scoring at the end of one of the Hawks’ best power plays in recent memory.
The key was movement of players as well as the puck. Kane, Seth Jones and Max Domi all rotated around and spent different times as the quarterback at the top of the zone, preventing the Blues’ penalty kill from settling into a structure.
“We were moving it quick,” Seth Jones said. “It hasn’t been that way this year for some of the time. But we were all in different positions, moving around, reading off each other and moving the puck.”
The Hawks’ power play has now fallen to 24th in the NHL with a 16.2% net conversion rate this season.
Stalock pulling away
Back in October, goalie Alex Stalock looked like he was pulling away with the Hawks’ starting goalie role before his much-discussed concussion knocked him out of the rotation entirely.
Now, Stalock might be starting to pull away with the starting role again. Coach Luke Richardson awarded him a second consecutive start Saturday and he again played extremely well in tough circumstances, making 34 saves on 37 shots.
“[Given] the shot attempts and the workload he had tonight, he gave us a chance to win when we weren’t very good as a team,” Richardson said. “He’s a big part of our team right now.”
Added Andreas Athanasiou: “He made some really unbelievable saves to keep us in that game. It would’ve been nice to help him out a little more, but he was huge back there.”
Petr Mrazek will likely start Sunday against the Sharks due to the back-to-back, but it wouldn’t be surprising whatsoever to see Stalock handle the majority of games moving forward. Sunday marks the start of a season-long seven-game homestand.
Jones cheered, Domi booed
Former Blue Jackets-turned-Hawks stars Seth Jones and Max Domi received drastically different reactions during their returns to Columbus on Saturday.
Jones, whose planned first game back in January 2022 was thwarted by a positive COVID-19 test that morning, heard hearty applause.
But Domi, whose pre-Christmas joke about his family never visiting him for the holidays in Columbus ruffled many feathers, heard an even heartier round of boos.