Blackhawks' top line generating many scoring chances


Marian Hossa considered it a positive.

The Blackhawks’ top line of he, Jonathan Toews and Andrew Ladd haven’t capitalized on their scoring opportunities in two games against the St. Louis Blues. But those chances have been there, and they’ve been good ones. Considering that, Hossa figures it’s only a matter of time until they start collecting on those opportunities.

“I felt like we had good chances,” Hossa said. “Obviously we didn’t capitalize on them because the game is extremely tight. They’re playing well defensively. Give them lots of credit. It’s really bottled up there to find the chances. But I thought we had some good looks and that’s a good sign.”

Hossa and Toews each had four shots on goal in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Blues. They and Andrew Ladd had their opportunities in Game 1, too. Certainly, until the points come the attempts are just that. But the top line has been a threat and looks like it’s becoming the line the Blackhawks envisioned it could be when they acquired Ladd at the trade deadline.

Ladd was especially noticeable in Game 1 on Wednesday, which turned out to be a busy day for him. He returned home to join his wife, Brandy, in the delivery room as they awaited the birth of their third child – Mrs. Ladd delivered their child, a boy, shortly after midnight on Thursday.

While his mind was on his family he still had plenty of focus on the game. Ladd had three shots on goal and was credited with a team-high eight hits in Game 1.

As far as their scoring chances, the top liners have been getting them the right way: by driving the net. Blues goaltender Brian Elliott has been tough to beat; he hasn’t allowed many rebounds. But Ladd, Toews and Hossa are doing what’s necessary to generate the up-close, greasy goals that are so prevalent and necessary in the postseason.

The points aren’t really there yet for the top line. But the opportunities have been. As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, it’s only a matter of time before those chances become goals.

“Yeah they get a lot of looks. They’ve been around the net and had some offensive zone time,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Hoss had a lot of good chances, Jonny had a real good game, Laddy’s making us notice him out there every single shift. It’s been very pleased. The production doesn’t show it but I’m very happy with the way we’re playing.”

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