Blackhawks shoot blanks as skid reaches three


Blackhawks shoot blanks as skid reaches three

Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011
Posted 9:33 PM Updated 10:39 PM

By Tracey Myers

ANAHEIM, Calif. The Chicago Blackhawks have had trouble keeping other teams off the scoreboard in third periods. Too often this season, a tie or slim lead has turned into a loss late.

But on Sunday, the Blackhawks had one of their stronger third-period performances against the Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately, it still didnt reap any rewards.

Bryan Bickell scored his 11th goal of the season but the Blackhawks could manage nothing else despite a late flurry of shots in a 2-1 loss to the Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday. The Blackhawks lost their third consecutive game.

It wasnt for lack of trying in the third, when the Blackhawks fired 19 of their 40 shots on Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. But whether it was Hillers stellar stops or bad luck, the Blackhawks couldnt muster a goal.

Hiller stopped Jack Skilles tying attempt with a goal-line glove save that was briefly reviewed. Viktor Stalberg thought he tied it late but his shot, aimed for a gaping net, deflected off Dave Bollands stick.

We almost tied it at the end and it goes off one of our guys stick right before its going into the net. That pretty much sums it up right there, goaltender Corey Crawford said. We played good enough to win this game.

Stalberg was about to raise his hands to celebrate before seeing what happened.

I just saw the puck go past the goalie and past everyone else, so I assumed it was in the net, Stalberg said. But it hit a blade and its not even their player. We had a couple of bad breaks in that period that shouldve gone in the net. Thats the way it goes.

The Blackhawks had 21 shots in the first two periods combined. But the quality chances were definitely in the third and not getting at least one of those in left the team frustrated.

It just seemed like the puck was just in front of the net bouncing over our sticks at the last second for some reason. It was just unlucky, Skille said. We just have to get grittier in front of the net, get into puck areas and make sure the next time we have opportunities we have to bear down.

Patrick Kane said it seems like we turned it up in the third and played a different style of hockey. We play like that the whole game I dont think many teams are going to beat us.

The Blackhawks could be getting captain Jonathan Toews back for Monday nights game against Los Angeles, which is definitely good news. The bad news is theyre missing opportunities to get valuable points. The Western Conference is tight and will continue to be so. The Blackhawks dont want to get too far behind in the race.

Every games going to be important all year long. They keep getting bigger and bigger as we go along here, coach Joel Quenneville said. We have to respond to the challenge and we have to play inspired hockey. That was a good third period for us. We needed to generate more scoring chances in the first 40.


Blackhawks center Jake Dowell did not play at all in the third period. Quenneville said Jakes fine, but didnt elaborate on why he didnt play during the final period.

Crawford stopped 16 of 18 shots in his first game back from the flu that he suffered from through the Christmas break. My timing was a little off in the first and felt pretty good in the second and third.

Nick Boynton and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches on Sunday.

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

Preview: Blackhawks host Flames Monday on CSN

Preview: Blackhawks host Flames Monday on CSN

The Blackhawks (3-3, 6 points) take on the Calgary Flames (1-4-1, 3 points) on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final horn to get analysis and player reaction on Blackhawks Postgame Live.

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Richard Panik fueling Blackhawks' top line

Richard Panik fueling Blackhawks' top line

Richard Panik was coming off his first career hat trick last week when he was asked about solidifying his spot on the top line with Jonathan Toews.

“I wouldn’t call it mine, for now,” Panik said.

The right wing’s hesitancy was understandable: Outside of some Blackhawks veterans, your place on a line is only as good as your last game.

But considering how he’s playing right now and the amount of goals he’s scored, you’d think Panik will be a top liner for a little while longer.

Panik scored the game-tying goals against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, with 88 seconds remaining in regulation on Saturday night. There was probably a little feeling of vindication for Panik on that goal – Panik spent last season with the Leafs’ minor-league team until he was traded to the Blackhawks. But no matter the opponent, Panik’s been a scoring threat.

“We didn’t expect six goals in six games but we knew he’d be an offensive threat for us,” Toews said. “He’s showing consistently. He had the hat trick – when you have a game like that, the puck keeps finding you and he’s making no mistakes around the net. He’s shown he can score goals in any which way.”

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Part of the reason Panik’s back on the top line was the Blackhawks wanted to get more balance among the forwards. Marian Hossa, a longtime sight on that line, is on the third. But again, it’s all in what you do with the opportunity.

“The position he ended up being in was probably more so [for] being ready every game, consistent, doing the right things,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Saturday’s game. “He has all the tools we look for. He’s coming up with loose pucks, hanging around the net, going to the hard areas, giving us some physicality and finish as well. That was a big one, for sure, so he’s been a very pleasant start for us and for himself.”

The Blackhawks will always take goals no matter who scores them. But it’s how and from where Panik’s scoring those goals that’s especially good for the Blackhawks. Constantly looking for a net-front presence, Panik’s providing it. Most of his goals have been within a few feet of the net.

“Yeah, I’m just trying to find the space in front of the net and the goals are scored from there,” he said. “That’s the area I want to go to and it’s working.”

In six games Panik has already reached the totals he had in his 30 games with the Blackhawks last season (six goals, two assists). Panik approaches every game on the first line like it could be his last up there, and considering how often the Blackhawks change combinations that’s a smart approach. But the Blackhawks were looking for more consistent scoring on that top line, and as long as Panik helps provide that, he’ll stay put.

“Consistency was my biggest weakness. I’m just focusing on that, bringing it every night,” Panik said. “I think I know what I’m capable of. I know I can play on this level. Now I have an opportunity. I just have to take advantage of it and keep playing this way.”