Hawks finally prevail in shootout, earn extra point

Hawks finally prevail in shootout, earn extra point
February 20, 2011, 11:19 pm
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Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011
Posted 5:22 p.m. Updated 6:50 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks watched the opposition score another late third-period goal, erasing another slim, late third-period lead.

But instead of succumbing to another missed opportunity to get points, the Blackhawks seized this one.

Patrick Sharp scored his 31st goal of the season and Patrick Kane scored the shootout winner and the Blackhawks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. The Blackhawks came away with four of six points on this three-game homestand. Theyre still in 11th place, but just two points out of eighth.

WATCH: Sharp defends Kane

Its a good feeling thats for sure, said Sharp, whos now just five goals shy of his career-best 36 he scored in the 2007-08 season. But we cant look at taking two of three and being satisfied. We have to approach every game as a must-win. It shows out there on the ice in critical situations.

Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford stopped 24 of 26 in regulation, and all three Penguins shootout offerings, for the victory.

It was another reminder that nothing comes easy at this juncture of the season.

I just think everybodys on the same playing field in this league. Youre fighting for every inch, every point, no matter whether youre in the east or west, acting coach Mike Haviland said. It was a gutsy effort and the way we need to play going into (Monday).

Still, it didnt come without its drama. The Penguins were without top players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but they came with a hard-working game. Matt Cooke scored a short-handed goal early and Brett Sterling punched home a rebound shot with less than four minutes remaining in regulation to tie it 2-2.
Patrick Sharp reacts after scoring his 31st goal of the season in the first period against the Penguins. Since being paired on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Sharp has scored four goals in his last five games. (AP)
But Kane came through with the shootout winner, wristing it to Marc-Andre Fleurys right after the Penguins goaltender went left.

WATCH: Kane describes new shootout move

Sometimes when you miss a few in a row (in the shootout) you want to change it up a bit, said Kane, who was coming off a three-point night against Columbus on Friday. I just tried to come down the middle and pull him to the one side and bring it back. Im happy it worked, obviously.

Its just that time of year where nothings going to come easy. The Blackhawks have been dealing with that all season, so theyre definitely ready for the pressures that come with the playoff push.

Nothings been easy all year, Crawford said. It seems like weve been playing these games all year and were just getting better because of it. Hopefully it continues.
Johnson returns

Ryan Johnson came off injured reserve on Sunday morning from his concussion, and added a boost for the Blackhawks, especially on the penalty kill. Johnson, who logged 11:22 of ice time, blocked two shots and, more important, won nine of 12 faceoffs.

For sure (he was key) and it starts with the faceoffs, Haviland said. RJ came in and did a great job. We blocked a lot of shots, we were in lanes. Were going to need that PK down the stretch.

Q at home

Coach Joel Quenneville returned home on Saturday after spending a few days in the hospital getting treated for an ulcer. Haviland said they talked prior to the game and Jonathan Toews said he sent Quenneville a couple of texts.

I dont want to bother him too much, Jonathan Toews said. Hes doing well and were happy to hear that. If he could, hed be right back here as fast as he could. But the important thing is he gets healthy and be ready to do his job the best he can.

Its been a trying week for the Blackhawks, who have had Quennevilles health on their minds while battling for a playoff spot. Toews credited Haviland with the job hes done in Quennevilles absence.

Its not an easy situation to be in, Toews said. He was able to take over and did a great job of getting us through that. Hopefully we get Q back soon but well keep working no matter what.

Briefly

Fernando Pisani (head), Nick Boynton and John Scott (healthy) were the scratches on Sunday.

Sundays attendance of 22,195 was the highest for a Blackhawks game this season.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.