Hard to believe they do this less on the PP than we do.

You know how we’d been used to referring to Joel Quenneville’s blender for the better part of his coaching tenture? The Phoenix Coyotes powerplay selections in recent weeks has made that look like a light blend. Granted the team made trade deadline acquisitions among their forwards by bringing in Antoine Vermette but both he and Gilbert Brule have struggled to find playing partners on the man advantage since relocating to Phoenix. I still think the Blackhawks can match up with just about any team in the Western Conference at even strength. The powerplay woes are well documented for those wearing the Indian Head but somehow the desert dogs make the Hawks powerplay look palatable. Here’s what they’ve been working with up front for the last 10 games on the powerplay.

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The Coyotes are just 4 for 45 since going through this mix and match on their powerplay. Three of those goals coming in one game against Anaheim’s modestly ranked (16th) penalty kill unit. The other came against San Jose (29th ranked PK). Here’s the video of those four goals.

This one comes from the point shot of Derek Morris and is deflected in front by the newly acquired Vermette. Torres and Brule are the other forwards on the ice while Morris is paired with Keith Yandle. This has been the 2nd unit the Yotes have opted to go with most often down the stretch of the season. Blame it more on the Duck defenceman being completely out of position than the tip in front. That puck never gets to the net if he’s in the right spot to block it.

This one reminds me of a Blackhawks powerplay… except all that nifty passing actually ends in a nice shot. Whitney plays catch through the middle of the Ducks box formation and eventually Vrbata roofs one past the goaltender. In both goals so far, the Yotes have been successful in set plays, both starting from the point. It’ll be on the Blackhawks forwards to pressure the point men.

Again, from the point and a rebound in front. Another Whitney shot finds its way to the front of the net and the Yotes eventually tuck it in.

The final goal that Phoenix scored against came on a 4 on 2 rush with Whitney getting an easy feed about 8 feet from the net. The Coyotes have similar struggles with zone entry just like the Hawks do so this isn’t something that the Chicago penalty kill will see very often should they stack the blue line and force the Coyotes to dump and chase. It’ll be a battle of who can out-stubborn the other with Dave Tippett and Joel Quenneville. Neither seems to be willing to dump and chase, nor their players, so that will be critical on the powerplay.

For the most part it’s the 1st unit for Phoenix that has been successful, most notably because of Whitney’s play making and point shots. Successful being a relative term here. There’s talent on the first unit for Phoenix but it doesn’t come close to what the Blackhawks were practicing with Toews possibly in the lineup today. The Hawks will likely need a positive goal differential, and probably a good sized one, in the matchup of their first PP unit with the Coyotes. Mike Smith will allow less at even strength than Corey Crawford based on their season totals in that department. It’s just something the Hawks will have to acknowledge going in. The dearth of talent on the Hawks PP unit will need to make up that differential, it’s just a matter of if they’ll be able to put it together in a short time. Against the 8th ranked powerplay to boot. If they take as long as the reconstructed Phoenix units have, then this could be a short series.