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