CHICAGO – Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and his teammates are doing plenty of things right to maintain a perfect record on the penalty kill during the playoffs.
Here’s one thing they’re not doing.
“We’re not thinking about streaks,” Toews said Thursday at the United Center as the Hawks prepared for their next game against the Detroit Red Wings. “Same thing went for our win streak this year.”
While the Hawks ignore their streaks, everyone else can enjoy following along.
The Hawks are 20 for 20 on the penalty kill during the postseason heading into Saturday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. That included 17 consecutive penalty kills against the Minnesota in Round 1 and a 3 for 3 mark so far against Detroit.
However, Hawks forward Michael Frolik said the two successes are unrelated. He is one of the team’s top penalty killers along with Toews, Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger.
“This is a new series against Detroit,” Frolik said. “It’s a whole different team than Minnesota. They have so much skill. They’re a very smart team.”
Then again, both opponents fared about the same on the power play during the regular season. The Wings finished No. 15 in the NHL with an 18.4 percent success rate on the man advantage, while the Wild finished one spot lower with a 17.9 percent success rate.
Sources say: Hawks coach Joel Quenneville calmly but firmly took exception Thursday to multiple reports that Viktor Stalberg was benched for complaining about playing time.
Those reports said Stalberg wanted more ice time on the power play in the playoffs. Instead, Stalberg was benched as a healthy scratch for Game 1 against the Wings.
“That story is 100 percent inaccurate,” Quenneville said.
Without going into details, Quenneville said both he and Stalberg knew the true story.
“Viktor didn’t play. He knows the reasons why,” Quenneville said. “It had nothing to do with anything about our conversation. It was strictly – nothing to do with that at all. That situation wasn’t even addressed.”
Quenneville was noncommittal about whether Stalberg would play in Game 2.
Good answer: Lots of hockey players grow up admiring top goal scorers, but few consider the league’s top penalty killers as role models.
Apparently, Kruger is an exception.
Kruger said he admired longtime center John Madden as the prototypical penalty killer. Madden played parts of 13 seasons in the NHL, including a one-year stint with the Hawks during their Stanley Cup-winning season of 2009-10.
“He was always great with the Devils doing that job,” Kruger said. “You watch a lot of players, but he was an awesome penalty killer.”
Hawks bits: The Hawks will return to practice today at the United Center. … Toews has assists in back-to-back games.