Captain carries Hawks to fourth straight victory

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Captain carries Hawks to fourth straight victory

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Posted 8:48 p.m. Updated 10:14 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks are finding ways to get points right now.

Thats good, because the way the Western Conference standings continue to play out, theyre going to need every single one they can get.

WATCH: Seabrook staying part of the family

Jonathan Toews scored two goals in regulation and the shootout winner, and Marian Hossa also scored as the Blackhawks took a 4-3 shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday night. The Blackhawks, who have now won four in a row and five of their last six, are one of four teams with 72 points. Theyre currently listed in ninth place.

It wasnt the most comfortable win for the Blackhawks, who twice had two-goal leads on the Coyotes. But it served its purpose nonetheless.

We know its always going to be close coming into third periods. Its pretty simple what weve got to do better, said Toews. We come out with good starts, we get a couple goals. Its right there in front of us. We just have to carry that effort right through the third.

The Blackhawks didnt, however, as they got into penalty trouble in the second period and their kill wasnt effective. Phoenix fired back with two goals within six minutes of each other, both on the power play, to tie it up 3-3.

There are some areas we can be better, right from the faceoff (on Phoenixs second power play) that ended up in our net, said coach Joel Quenneville. We still had a good third period.

The Blackhawks stymied Phoenix in that period, allowing just five shots while they fired 12 at Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped 38 of 41 in the loss.
Corey Crawford gets his left pad over to the post before Radim Vrbata can get the puck past him in the shootout. Crawford admitted he wasn't sharp against Phoenix, but felt better in the shootout. (AP)
Corey Crawford stopped 26 of 29 and all three Phoenix shootout attempts for the victory. It looked like Crawford was screened on one or two of the goals he allowed against the Coyotes, but the netminder said he wasnt having his best night, either.

I didnt feel the greatest tonight moving laterally, Crawford said. I wasnt as sharp as usual. I felt good in the shootout though.

The Blackhawks found a way to pull another one out. They had their glitches, for sure, but theyre keeping with the pack.

We understand the situation and were battling more, said Duncan Keith, who played a team-high 30:33 against Phoenix. We need those points and it shows in how were playing. Were a lot happier with the way weve been playing. Theres still more there, another level we can get to, but as the games go by here weve tried to get points out of games and were doing that. We have to keep doing that.

Hendry injured

Jordan Hendry went down in the opening minutes of the third after taking a hit from Shane Doan along the boards. Hendry, favoring his left leg, needed help getting off the ice and into the locker room.

Quenneville said theyll look at where he is Monday and whether or not they need to call up another defenseman. In his absence the five remaining defensemen had to play some extra minutes. Quenneville was pleased with the results, especially with rookie Nick Leddy, who played just over 23 minutes.

Nick Leddy had a special game tonight, he said. I thought he was quick with the puck, he made several elusive moves where passes leaving our zone were tape to tape. Hes absorbing quality minutes. He and Duncs are forming a solid pair for us. I like the trend hes on right now.

Briefly

Hossas goal was his 15th of the season.

Fernando Pisani and John Scott were the healthy scratches on Sunday night.

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

Ryan Hartman gets another shot at center when Blackhawks take on Stars

Ryan Hartman gets another shot at center when Blackhawks take on Stars

Ryan Hartman isn't a total stranger to center.

He played more of it in his Plymouth Whalers (OHL) days but also got some center shifts in with the Rockford IceHogs. That's where he'd also get some faceoffs, especially if another center had, or was coming off of, a wrist injury.

His return there Tuesday night wasn't so shabby, either, as he moved to the second-line center spot when the Blackhawks were looking for a boost. So it's no surprise that he'll be back there again on Thursday night when the Blackhawks play hosts to the Dallas Stars.

Hartman admits he was a little surprised when he was put in that spot in the Blackhawks' overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. But with this team you have to expect anything, and Hartman was happy to join Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.

"You never know at a certain time of the game what's going to happen. But it went well," Hartman said. "Playing with those two guys is fun, and they're two special players. They make it easy on you, keeping the puck and making plays. It's exciting to play with those two guys."

Hartman did get some post-skate faceoff work in on Thursday. He said he'll do some video work as well.

"They put up video before games of tendencies of every center. I've just gotta watch that close before tonight's game so I know what some of their habits are and what centers I'll be lined up against," he said.

Hartman playing second-line center gives the Blackhawks another option in Artem Anisimov's injury absence. Coach Joel Quenneville said, depending on how things go, that Hartman could be considered to center the third or fourth line in the future.

"I liked him there, and the way he plays with those two guys, you can have a net presence and disruption around the net and a lot of action with those guys in that area. He has a quick stick and maybe there's some production there and it gives us some options of using him in the middle in other spots as well going forward," Quenneville said. "For a period there I thought he did a real nice job. We'll see how it works out. It looked all right today in practice. It's one more option, which we like."

[BLACKHAWKS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

CSN has complete coverage of Thursday night's game between the Blackhawks and Stars, starting with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m., followed by puck drop from the United Center at 7:30 p.m. You can catch all the action on CSN or streaming live here on CSNChicago.com or on the NBC Sports app.

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

John Hayden, Jonathan Toews, Richard Panik
​Artemi Panarin, Ryan Hartman, Patrick Kane
Nick Schmaltz, Marcus Kruger, Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen, Tanner Kero, Jordin Tootoo

​Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya and Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk

​Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries/illness: Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Dallas Stars

Forward lines

Jamie Benn, Cody Eakin, Ales Hemsky
​Remi Elie, Tyler Seguin, Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore, Radek Faksa, Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie, Adam Cracknell, Jiri Hudler

​Defensive pairs

Esa Lindell and John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn
​Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak

​Goaltender

Kari Lehtonen

Injuries/illness: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Jason Spezza (back)

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks go for season sweep vs. Stars tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks go for season sweep vs. Stars tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Patrick Sharp returns to Chicago.

For the first time this season, Sharp will lace up the skates in the building and city he spent 10 seasons and won three Stanley Cups. He missed the first three meetings of the year due to a concussion, but played in the fourth on Feb. 4 that turned out to be a 5-3 loss for Dallas. The former Blackhawks winger revealed last month that he's been dealing with an undisclosed injury for quite a while that has worsened over time, and will eventually need season-ending surgery, which will likely come when the Stars are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

2. Johnny Oduya faces former team.

Sharp won't be the only one facing his former club tonight. Oduya will face off against the Stars for the first time since being re-acquired by the Blackhawks on Feb. 28 from Dallas, where he spent the last year and a half after signing a two-year contract in the summer of 2015. He was a key part of the team's blue line that won their first division title since 2005-06 last year.

3. Jamie Benn scoring drought.

After scoring 12 goals in his previous 16 games, including three in two games to start March, Benn hasn't scored in six straight, his second-longest drought of the season; his first stretched to nine games from Oct. 20-Nov. 10. It's been a tough season in Dallas, and Benn only recently started looking like the player that finished last season ranked third with 41 goals and second with 89 points. But he's still one of the best players in the league, so don't think a down year makes him any less dangerous on the ice.  

4. Ryan Hartman with a hot stick.

Hartman had been quiet for a little bit, failing to find the back of the net in nine consecutive games. He's been lights out in the last three, where he registered a season-high six shots on goal and scored the game-winning overtime goal in Toronto, and scored two more in Tuesday's 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver. He's now up to 18 goals on the season, which ranks fifth among all rookies, and all but one have come at even strength. Two more would put him at 20 goals, and would make him the seventh Blackhawks player this season to reach that total.

5. Another successful night coming for the power play?

The Blackhawks took advantage of their six power-play opportunities on Tuesday against Vancouver by cashing in on two of those. They were only 1-for-13 (7.7 percent) in their previous seven games. They're welcoming a Stars team that ranks dead last in the penalty kill department with a 74.0 percentage, and the Blackhawks will look to build off last game's success and keep it rolling.

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