April 20, 2017
After Game 3, we wrote how the Chicago Blackhawks have been getting dominated in puck possession throughout their series with the Nashville Predators and it is a huge reason for the 0-3 deficit they now face.
While the advantage in speed that the Predators hold is a big factor in the possession numbers being skewed, but a lot of it starts at the faceoff dot. As a team the Blackhawks have only won 46.7 of their faceoffs, meaning more time than not they begin a shift chasing the puck. Only four teams in the playoffs have lower FO% than the Blackhawks and one of those is the Calgary Flames who were eliminated last night.
Winning faceoffs has actually been one of the few things Jonathan Toews has excelled at in the series as he has won 43 of 74 draws (58.1%). Tanner Kero has done a decent job by winning 13 of this 24 faceoffs.
Meanwhile, the second and third lines have been abysmal at the dot. Marcus Kruger has won just 15 of his 42 faceoffs (35.7), so it is a good thing that is the defensive “shutdown” line since they are constantly on defense.
Artem Anismov has been awful with just 14 faceoff wins in 46 attempts (30.4), which has had the Blackahwks’ best scoring line without the puck to start nearly 70% of their shifts. Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin need to have the puck in their possession, not chasing it around their own zone.