Live to fight another day.
That is what the Blackhawks did in Game 5 thanks in large part to the performance on the power play for the Blackhawks. After backing themselves into a corner, the Blackhawks were able to take advantage of being a man up.
The Blackhawks got off to a hot start on the power play in the series when Marian Hossa scored on the power play in Game 1. But since scoring on the power play, the Blackhawks were 0 for 12 since scoring that goal when they went to the power play tied in the second period in Game 5.
It was obvious that the Blackhawks came out with a different attitude from the start of the power play. They were committed to moving the puck north and south instead of taking it up the boards and going east and west.
That north south movement combined with east west meant that Red Wings penalty killers had to keep moving instead of standing still. Now the Blackhawks did benefit from the stick of Pavel Datsyuk breaking. That turned it into a five on three and a half. But the Blackhawks determination to have Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook fire pucks from the point paid off later in the power play
Finally the Blackhawks also showed a determination to park in front of the net and not allow Jimmy Howard to see pucks. The combination of shots from the point and traffic in front of the net came together when Andrew Shaw tipped in a Keith shot in front of the net past Howard. Keith had another assist on the second power play goal as well.
Having versatility on the power play is important as well. Being able to score from different areas allows a team to attack a penalty kill from multiple angles.
Jonathan Toews scored when he fired a shot off of the left shoulder of Jimmy Howard and into the net. This goal was set up when Toews won a faceoff and the Blackhawks used quick and decisive passing to set up Toews who fired it from the right faceoff circle.
Again the Blackhawks appeared to have a plan in place when they set up the power play. Both successful power plays had decisive passing rather than the passive attitude the Blackhawks have had on previous power plays.
For the Blackhawks this cannot last for one day. The Red Wings are going to make adjustments but if the Blackhawks continue to make decisive passes and get traffic in front of the net, they can continue to have success on the power play.
A good performance on the power play can help the Blackhawks try to push the series to 7 games. If they are not successful on the power play; they will have a hard time trying to win Game 6 in Detroit tonight. If the Hawks want to live another day, they will need to have another good performance on the power play.