If you’re looking for dour expressions and disappointment coming out of the Chicago Blackhawks locker room on Saturday night, you weren’t going to get it.
Sure, they would’ve liked to win their eighth game in a row. But sometimes, the bounces don’t go entirely your way.
Brent Seabrook scored two power-play goals, but David Schlemko had the shootout winner in the Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Saturday night. The Coyotes, who have slim playoff chances as it is, kept them alive with tonight’s victory.
For the Blackhawks, it wasn’t a game they were frowning about, too bad. Having the Central and West sewn up will do that for you. While they still wouldn’t have minded coming out on the better side of it, they’ll take their overall performance.
“That’s the way it can go sometimes,” said Jonathan Toews. “We’ve found ways to win in overtime and the shootout more often than not, I think. But we still did some pretty good things out there. When it comes down to the end, we have confidence that we can win tight games. But sometimes it doesn’t go your way. We’re still more happy with the way we played than the result.”
The result was tight thanks to Phoenix taking advantage of a wonky hop that Corey Crawford was unable to stop in the first period. Rostislav Klesla threw a dump-in pass toward the net not long after Seabrook’s first power-play goal. But it took a funny hop, and Crawford couldn’t stop it as it went over his shoulder to tie the game 1-1.
“Yeah, a bad bounce; nothing I could do about it,” said Crawford. “I was able to bounce back pretty good after those two goals. It was just a bad bounce.”
Crawford stopped 29-of-31 through regulation and overtime before Schlemko’s shootout winner. Coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t overly critical about it after the game.
“I just saw one the other night; it’s just one of those things,” he said. “I don’t know how many there have been this year. They happen.”
[WATCH: Quenneville after the shootout loss]
Still, it gave the Coyotes, who were behind 1-0 at the time, life. And not long after that they grabbed the lead with Radin Vrbata’s shot from the left circle.
Mike Smith did the rest. The Coyotes goaltender, back after missing the last two games with an injury, was stellar in stopping 36-of-38 shots. He also got a little help in the shootout when Marian Hossa’s attempt rang off the post and stayed out.
The bounces were ugly early. For Crawford, it was a forgettable first. For the Blackhawks, there were enough good things, especially that power play, that had them dealing just fine with the result.
“Last night was a tough game, tonight was as well. But I didn’t mind the way we played,” Quenneville said. “We were more effective in our team game (tonight). In back-to-back games, I thought it was an OK weekend.”