Sharp ends slump quickly

The Chicago winger got his second goal of the playoffs on Friday in Game 4.

Of all the high-flying forwards on the Chicago roster, none provoked worse memories for the Wild than Patrick Sharp. The winger was his team’s leading goal scorer in last year’s run to the Stanley Cup — and of his 10 postseason goals, five came in a first-round defeat of the Wild.

Sharp followed up with a stellar regular season, stoking expectations that he would provide plenty of firepower again in the playoffs. But entering Friday’s Game 4 against the Wild, Sharp had contributed only one goal and two assists, and his usually precise shot had lost its way. He took the first step toward breaking the slump with his first goal of the series, even as his team’s offense continued to struggle in a 4-2 loss.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville completely reconstructed his lines for Game 4, in part to try and jump-start Sharp. With 39 seconds left in the first period, Sharp collected a pass from new linemate Marian Hossa and carried the puck into the right circle, then slid it between the pads of Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Sharp, who had been on the second line, was moved to left wing on the third with center Michal Handzus and Hossa. He had offered no excuses for his goal drought but said he, and his teammates, needed to play to their strengths to get their offense going again.

“When you lose games and you don’t contribute, it’s definitely frustrating,’’ said Sharp, who scored two game-winners against the Wild in last year’s playoffs. “I know I can be better, whether it’s making plays, whether it’s being more direct with my play, helping out my linemates.

“We trust in our coaching staff to make the right adjustments. As a player, you just kind of put your head down, get yourself ready to play and take the message that the coach is sending.’’

During the regular season, Sharp led the Blackhawks with 78 points, and his 34 goals also topped the team charts. Those totals landed him in the top 12 in the NHL in both categories. His only goal in the first nine games of the playoffs came in Game 6 of Chicago’s first-round series against St. Louis.

Sharp chipped in 10 goals and six assists as the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last spring. He led them with 11 playoff goals when they captured the Cup in 2010.

Quenneville, who does not hesitate to shuffle his lines, said the wholesale changes after Game 3 were meant to create more balance throughout the lineup. The coach attributed Sharp’s slump to the extra defensive attention he has drawn in the postseason. As teams tighten their defenses, he said, players who racked up points in the regular season often find their production suppressed. But Quenneville noted that one of the Blackhawks’ primary assets is their bevy of skilled forwards, so Sharp should not feel pressure to carry the scoring load while he seeks to regain his mojo.

“Hopefully, he can get that feeling-good streak,’’ Quenneville said. “At the same time, (Sharp’s) reliability defensively, that’s what we’re looking for, and he’s been fine in that area. Like we say a lot, we don’t care who scores, as long as we get some contributions across the board.’’

Sharp’s teammates aren’t worried, either. Smith said Sharp has been one of the team’s hardest-working players in the postseason, and he believes the tide will turn.

Sharp is counting on it. “I feel good,’’ he said. “I feel ready. There’s a lot more hockey left, I hope.’’

  • related content

  • Wild dominates Blackhawks on both ends to even series

    Saturday May 10, 2014

    The Wild, 5-0 at home in the playoffs with five goals allowed, found an extra gear and tied the series.

  • Patrick Sharp of the Blackhawks stepped off the ice during warmups before Game 4 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center. Sharp had only one goal in the playoffs before Game 4, but he scored in the first period.

  • Patrick Sharp (10) slammed Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin in the first period Friday night.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close