Duncan Keith to Artemi Panarin to Patrick Kane to Artem Anisimov and in. It took the Blackhawks three seconds to make that a reality with one of the prettiest passing displays of the season.
The Blackhawks’ power play is the very definition of mediocre, ranking 14th of the league’s 30 teams through the first two months of the campaign, but Chicago looked anything but average during their attempts with the man advantage Thursday night.
In a tilt against the New York Islanders, the Blackhawks had three chances to skate up a man, and each time Chicago found a way to bury. Twice on the night, the Blackhawks’ power play tallies came thanks to a left wing blast from Artemi Panarin, who is starting to lay claim to being one of the most lethal one-time artists in the league, but it was Chicago’s second power play goal of the night that stood out most.
The Blackhawks, trailing by one, were sent to the man advantage midway through the first period when Dennis Seidenberg tripped up Jonathan Toews, and late in the man advantage, the unit of Panarin, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov — a go-to scoring combination for coach Joel Quenneville — made some magic.
The play started with Duncan Keith picking up a puck on the right wing boards, curling back to the blueline and spotting Panarin on the far side. After receiving a crisp pass from Keith, Panarin immediately located a seam and fired a bullet pass down low to Kane, who was waiting low on the right wing. Kane wasted no time corralling the puck and firing it back out front, right onto the tape of Anisimov for a tap-in goal:
That’s four touches by four players in three seconds before hitting the back of the net.
One might expect that type of passing display to be the norm for a Blackhawks power play that can boast the likes of Kane, Panarin, Anisimov, Toews and Marian Hossa, but heading into Thursday’s game, the Blackhawks were actually below the middle of the pack in terms of power play conversion at a mere 16.5 percent, good for 18th in the league. Their performance against the Isles, though, boosted their power play four spots.
With the tap-in goal, Anisimov moved into a tie for seventh in the league with 14 goals on the season, moving him just six shy of matching his total from the 2015-16 campaign. If this pace keeps up, Anisimov could very well become a 30-goal scorer for the first time in his career, and he’s on pace to eclipse the past season’s point total by nearly 30 points.
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