Losing and not scoring: that’s harder for Sharp to swallow.
Sharp was held without a goal for the eighth time in nine playoff games Tuesday in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of their second-round series. The Blackhawks are 5-3 when Sharp doesn't score.
“It’s frustrating when you lose games and you can’t help contribute offensively, but playing on a good team and we’re going to win games if everybody plays the way that our coaching staff wants us to play,” Sharp said after practice Thursday. “But to answer your question, yeah, when you lose games and you don’t contribute, it’s definitely frustrating.”
The Blackhawks were hopeful Sharp would ignite after scoring against the St. Louis Blues in the clinching Game 6 of their first-round series. He had two assists against the Wild in Game 1, but has been goalless in all three games. He has three points in the playoffs.
Sharp has been creating opportunities in most games. He’s had 31 shots on goal in the postseason. He had four shots on net in both Game 1 and Game 3 against Minnesota; he had none in Game 2. It was only the fourth time this season he was held without a shot on goal. He has a 3.2 shooting percentage for the playoffs.
Sharp was asked if his shot had been off in recent games, but he said he felt it was fine.
“I’m sure there’s things that can happen that affect a player’s shooting whether it’s physical, whether it’s mental,” Sharp said. “But as far as me personally, I have no excuses.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t express any concern about Sharp.
"I just think that scorers, it's a little tighter for them [in the playoffs] and the production is usually across the board a little down than a regular-season production for most players,” Quenneville said. “Scorers, sometimes they get that added attention, so I mean, hopefully he can get that feeling-good streak, whether they start going in offensively. Same time, that reliability defensively, that's what we're looking for and he's been fine in that area. Eventually, like we say a lot, we don’t care who scores as long as we get some contributions across the board.”
Sharp has come through for the Blackhawks in the playoffs in the past. He scored 10 playoff goals, including five against the Wild in the first round, last season. He has 34 goals in 96 career playoff games.
Sharp was optimistic he'd get himself going in Game 4 Friday.
“Sure, I know I can be better in that category, whether it’s making plays, whether it’s being more direct with my play, getting more spring opportunities, helping out my linemates,” Sharp said. “I know that’s something I can do. Get a good rest today and hopefully do it tomorrow.”