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Notes: Hawks seek answers on faceoffs

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (right) stands up against Blackhawks center Michal Handzus during the first period Monday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston.

BOSTON – The Blackhawks need to be better at a lot of things heading into Game 4.

If the power play is the Hawks’ No. 1 problem, then having better faceoffs is No. 1A.

“We know that we have to be better,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday.

It’s tough to imagine the Hawks being worse.

In Game 3 on Monday, the Hawks lost 71 percent of their faceoffs en route to a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. Several of those faceoff losses came during the power play, which led to 15 to 20 seconds running off of the clock every time the Bruins cleared the puck.

Hawks center Michal Handzus was the worst offender, losing all 10 of his faceoff attempts. Dave Bolland won one faceoff and lost seven, while Marcus Kruger won two and lost five.

On the opposite side, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won 24 faceoffs while losing only four.

“Bergeron had one of those nights that you’d like to have in a career,” Quenneville said.

The Hawks’ next task is to prevent Bergeron from having two of those nights.

“[We could] crowd the circle a little bit more, get a little bit in there,” Bolland said. “They’re a good faceoff team.”

As with Game 3, the Bruins will be able to make final line changes in their home building. That could help Bruins coach Claude Julien find favorable matchups, and it could help Bruins centers scout their counterparts as the last arrivals to the faceoff circle.

“That always does,” Bolland said. “You see what they’re doing, see where their feet are, where their sticks are, where their hands are. You’re always looking to see what they’re doing. When you have that last chance to go down, you always have that advantage.”

Staying aggressive: The Hawks power play is bad and getting worse, but Hawks forward Patrick Sharp said he did not expect the team to change its style on entering the zone.

Typically, the Hawks carry the puck into the offensive zone to set up a play or a set of plays. Less talented teams rely on a chip-and-chase method in which they dump the puck behind the opposing net and try to win battles along the boards to regain possession.

Could the Hawks rely more on chipping and chasing?

“If need be, yeah,” Sharp said. “But I think that with the creativity and the speed and the playmaking ability that we have, there should be plays available.”

Needing more: Dave Bolland struggled as much as anyone on the Hawks in Game 3 as he committed three penalties and was on the ice for both of the Bruins’ goals.

Quenneville said he needed his 27-year-old forward to bounce back with a better performance in Game 4.

“You can’t take three [penalties],” Quenneville said. “I think you’ve got to be smarter about it when you do take one that maybe you don’t put yourself in that spot again.

“Let’s make sure we learn from that.”

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