Captain carries Hawks to fourth straight victory


Captain carries Hawks to fourth straight victory

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

By Tracey Myers

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.


Hossas goal was his 15th of the season.

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

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

Five Things to watch: Blackhawks host Flames tonight on CSN

Five Things to watch: Blackhawks host Flames tonight 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.

Here are five things to watch for during tonight's game:

1. Anisimov, Panik look to stay hot: Artem Anisimov and Richard Panik are both tied for fourth in the NHL in points with eight apiece. Panik has recorded at least one point in five of six games this season, including a hat trick in last week's win over the Predators and a game-tying goal against the Maple Leafs in the final minute of regulation. Anisimov has shaken off a slow start and recorded seven points in his last three games.

2. The Captain looks to light the lamp: Twelve different Blackhawks have scored a goal through six games. None of those players are named Jonathan Toews. The Captain has recorded two assists and actually leads the Blackhawks in penalty minutes (nine), and all 15 of his shots on goal - second on the team - have been stopped. The good news is Toews has 21 points in 31 career games against the Flames.

3. Johnny Hockey takes his talents to the Windy City: The 23-year-old All-Star might remind you of a certain No. 88 on the Blackhawks, and for good reason. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau was sixth in the NHL in points last season, and he led the Flames in goals, assists and points. He's got just three points in six games this season for the 1-5 Flames, but he's a candidate to make something happen in an instant whenever he's on the ice.

4. Former Blackhawks return to the UC: It'll be a small reunion of sorts for the Blackhawks and Flames on Monday night. Calgary currently has three former Blackhawks on its roster in Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Michal Frolik. Versteeg and Brouwer were part of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup run, Frolik was on the squad in 2013, and Versteeg returned to the Madhouse in Madison in 2015.

5. Brian Elliott struggling with new squad: The last time the Blackhawks saw Brian Elliott he was leading the Blues to a Game 7 victory with 31 saves. He  hasn't found that same sort of success early in his first season with the Flames; he's 0-3 and has allowed 14 goals. He's likely to start in goal tonight against the Blackhawks.

For more on how the two teams stack up, click here for all the stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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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.”