CHICAGO | When the Blackhawks successfully kill all three penalties in a game, as they did Sunday night against the Los Angeles Kings, it’s a moral victory these days.
Even though the Hawks lead the NHL with 24 victories and 53 points, the penalty kill has been their crying weakness this season, compared to a huge strength last season.
The Hawks entered Sunday ranked next to-last in the NHL at 29th overall (73.1 percent) in the PK. At the United Center, they were dead last at home at 68.8 percent.
“Sometimes when things snowball on you, you put more pressure on yourself,” said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.
“It doesn’t seem to matter what you do. It just keeps getting worse. We’ve just got to relax and get back to our work ethic and having good sticks and being really tough to play against.”
Is it odd how a strength turns into a weakness on two consecutive winning teams?
“It happens,” Toews said. “We’re fighting hard to get out of it and be better. Obviously, our ranking in the league isn’t very good."
Goalie Antti Raanta took pride in helping with a perfect PK Sunday.
“It gives us a little bit of confidence,” he said. “I saw all the shots in the PK, so that’s always a little bit better for me.”
Hawks Convention: Guest rooms at the downtown Hilton Chicago for the seventh annual Blackhawks Convention go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The convention will be held from July 18 to 20, 2014, at the Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago). Fans can contact the Hilton Chicago at 1-877-865-5320 or visit chicagoblackhawks.com to secure a room.
Fans can purchase packages for one or both nights of the 2014 Blackhawks Convention, which is the only way to guarantee a convention pass.
Bickell back by Friday?: Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is not discouraging a target date of Friday against Vancouver here for winger Brian Bickell’s return from a knee injury.
“We’re probably taking him to Nashville (tonight) and see what he does over the next couple of days,” Quenneville said. “He did well (in an on-ice workout Sunday). He’s close.”
Odds and ends: The Hawks through Sunday had scored a power-play goal in nine straight games … The Hawks are 17-0-3 when scoring first. After Sunday’s win over the Kings, Chicago is 7-0-2 in the second game of a back-to-back series … Marian Hossa’s goal that opened scoring against the Kings was his 27th career shorthanded tally.