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Hawks going back to 5 forwards on first power-play unit

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When Seth Jones was out of the lineup earlier in the season because of a thumb injury, the Blackhawks experimented with five forwards on the power play for a few games. In fact, the very first time they tried it against Boston, they scored.

With the power play in a bit of a dry spell lately from a results standpoint — they're 1-for-10 over the last four games — the Blackhawks are going back to the five-forward look. They're also using two defensemen on the second unit.

Here's what the units looked like at practice on Wednesday:

  • PP 1: Max Domi, Tyler Johnson, Patrick Kane, Philipp Kurashev and Taylor Raddysh
  • PP 2: Andreas Athanasiou, MacKenzie Entwistle, Caleb Jones, Seth Jones and Kurashev
    *Note: Jonathan Toews did not practice for maintenance reasons, so Kurashev took his spot on the first unit.

"We just want to change things up a little bit," Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said. "I thought the power play was doing really well, but it's a lot of low plays and I think the forwards are creative right now and they're taking Seth's shot away, so let's try that.

"With two D on the second power play, they don't get as much time. But it gives us two shot threats. Caleb's shooting the puck really well on the power play this year at the top. And getting Seth over on his one-timer, let's try to get him open there like an Ovechkin-style thing."

On the first unit, Raddysh was in the net-front position, Kurashev (which will be Toews) was in the bumper role, Domi was at the right faceoff circle, Johnson was at the left circle and Kane was running the point.

On the second unit, Entwistle was in the net-front position, Kurashev was in the bumper role, Athanasiou was at the right faceoff circle, S. Jones was at the left circle and C. Jones was running the point.

The return of Johnson also gives the Blackhawks a shooting option on the left faceoff circle. He nearly scored on a one-timer from Kane on Tuesday but was robbed by Washington Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren.

"He just gives us that option to maybe do that and feel a little more comfortable with it," Richardson said. "Those guys are smart hockey players, and Tyler's really strong on the puck and makes strong decisions, so I think that helps."

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