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

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 81 4th Qtr 11:23
Sacramento 91
Minnesota 48 3rd Qtr
Golden State 58
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 0 3rd Prd
Calgary 3
San Jose 1 3rd Prd
Los Angeles 2
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 2nd Half 0:20
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 4th Qtr 2:00
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close