Blackhawks Star of the Week: Power Play Specialist
This past week has been ugly for the Chicago Blackhawks. They had a matchup with the Florida Panthers on March 15, followed by a series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 16 and 20. If you are sick of hearing lousy results against teams in Florida this season, you’re not alone. The Blackhawks lost all three of their games this week, are currently on a four-game losing streak, and have lost seven of their last 10 games. When teams go through these stretches, it can be hard to find positives.
If I’m being honest, it seems like most of the players on the team are going through a slump. The star players have gone quiet and nothing seems to be working as it did earlier in the season. So I’m going to take a different approach to this week’s ‘Star of the Week.’ I’m going to focus on a fun moment that happened this week. The player involved in that scene was forward Mattias Janmark. Therefore, he gets the nod.
Frankly, when the Blackhawks first signed Janmark as a free agent in October 2020, I didn’t think much of him. I figured that he would score from time to time, but didn’t think he would he would be as impactful as he has been. He has been a pleasant surprise this season. He has 10 goals, eight assists, and 18 points in 32 games, which ranks fourth-best on the team in points. Last season when he was with the Dallas Stars, he had 21 points in 62 games. So he is producing at a much higher rate this year.
Janmark’s average time on ice has been 17 minutes this season. It’s well deserved. He is very good at making plays, providing offense and defensive plays. He has even drawn comparisons to former Blackhawks’ forward, Marcus Kruger. Although, I would even argue that he is better than Kruger because he has more of an offensive touch. However, that’s no small feat. He has earned recognition and has provided quality plays this season. None better than when it comes to the special teams.
The Blackhawks’ power play is a big talking point this season. It is ranked third in the league with a 28% success rate. Janmark has played a big part in that. 40% of his goals have come from the power play this season. He has two power-play goals in the last seven games. In general, he has had a good run with six points in the last seven games.
The one positive aspect that I want to highlight for the Blackhawks this week came from the power play against the Lightning on March 18. Lightning’ forward Barclay Goodrow received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty within the first few minutes of the game. The team made sure he paid for it. This play was beautiful all around. The pass from Dominik Kubalik, followed by the quick shot from Janmark allowed the Hawks to take an early 1-0 lead.
It was nice to see the Blackhawks get a quick start because they went into the series having lost the previous two games. Janmark had a very strong outing the rest of the game. He had five shots on goal and tallied an assist on another power-play goal scored by Dylan Strome towards the end of the first period. What made the occasion a little sweeter for Janmark is that his last power-play goal came on March 7 against the Lightning. I doubt that Tampa is excited that they’re going to have to face him one more time in the regular season.
The two power-play goals by Strome and Janmark were the only time that Chicago converted on the power play this week. They had 12 opportunities. It was less than abysmal, which makes Janmark’s play stand out even more. Unfortunately, that nice moment got overshadowed by the fact that they went on to lose the game 4-2.
Janmark’s overall play has been impressive this week. He has had nine shots-on-goal in the past three games and has been very noticeable. I think he is a player to watch going into the series with the Panthers on March 23 and 25. I bet he has more in store for the Blackhawks. This is exactly the type of contributions that are needed from depth players. If he continues to produce, the team should be in good hands. Expect to see more for him, especially when it comes to special teams. When the Hawks get their special teams back on track, I think he will be a big reason why.
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