Destiny in Hawks' hands after overtime victory

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Destiny in Hawks' hands after overtime victory

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Posted: 9:49 p.m. Updated: 11:10 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com
The Chicago Blackhawks felt they got the raw end of an officials call on Tuesday in Montreal. On Wednesday it looked like the got the benefit of a big one.

Marian Hossa was awarded a goal on the ice and Toronto let the call stand, and Jonathan Toews scored the overtime winner as the Blackhawks came back to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 at the United Center on Wednesday night.

Watch: Toews knows it's do or die for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will likely end the night in eighth place, as Anaheim was beating San Jose and has more regulationovertime victories. But on the night Patrick Sharp returned from a left knee injury, it looked like the Blackhawks wouldnt manage one point.
David Backes put the Blues up 1-0 just 17 seconds in and T.J. Oshie added one 66 seconds into the second. Then came the controversy. With about 12 minutes left in the second the Blackhawks scrambled to hit the puck past Ty Conklin and Hossa was awarded the goal on the ice. Replays showed Hossa kicking the puck in, with it barely crossing the line. But after a lengthy review in Toronto, the goal stood.

Officials ruled the puck hit the post on Hossas kick, then came out and Hossas stick touched the puck and it rolled across the line. There was inconclusive evidence to overrule the on-ice call.

Both Hossa and I didnt think it was in but the ref was standing right there and he pointed and he said all four guys had it as a goal on the ice, Sharp said. I guess they got it right.

Watch: Keith gives thoughts on the goal review

Coach Joel Quenneville said I think it was inconclusive on a couple of fronts. The call on the ice was a good goal, so you had to prove it wasnt, and the call on the ice was probably going to stand either way. Nothing showed that it wasnt or it was, and I think thats why it stood.

Conklin felt otherwise.

They called it a goal on the ice, which is fine, thats understandable. But the reason we have video replay is to get the right call. Theyre probably going to make it into the playoffs anyway, but do we really have to make it that obvious that the league wants them in? he said. It was a close play, but the puck never crossed the line.

The Blackhawks got two more that period from Tomas Kopecky and Nick Leddy but St. Louis wasnt going away. Chris Stewart scored midway through the third period to force overtime before Toews got the winner, his 32nd goal of the season.

St. Louis was determined to end our season. Obviously they had nothing to lose, said Toews. Well take (goals) any way we can. It doesnt matter who scores. As long as they go in somehow well take them.
Welcome back

Watch: Sharp on his return

Sharp gave his healing left knee a go for about 10 minutes on Tuesday and about twice that Wednesday morning.

Was it fully healed? Probably not. But at this time of year, Sharp wasnt going to sit on the sidelines any longer.

Sharp came back after missing the last seven games with a knee injury, playing nearly 20 minutes and tallying an assist in the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime victory over St. Louis on Wednesday. Sharp said he felt rusty and wouldve liked to have had a practice with his teammates prior to Wednesdays game. But he was going regardless.

I just think its that time of year when you do what you can to help the team and I definitely felt better, Sharp said. Mentally Im past the injury and just focused on what I can do to get us in the playoffs.

Its that time of year that I dont think anybodys 100 percent out there, Sharp continued. You do what it takes.

Watch: Quenneville on Sharp's return

Yes, Sharp is gutting it out. And asked if he wouldve started Sharp if this were game 40 instead of game 80, coach Joel Quenneville said, probably not.

He had some good jump in his game and brought a lot of spirit to our team and energy as well, Quenneville said. It was good to have him back.
Leddy points
Leddy had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks on Wednesday. Quenneville said the 20-year-old has had strong outings lately.

It was a nice shot, a great shot, Quenneville said of Leddys goal, his fourth of the season. He had poise, patience and hes really picked up his game the last two nights.
Fun with Marty

Marty Turco had a little fun with a Montreal fan on Tuesday night, winning and losing a 5 bet in the Blackhawks 2-1 overtime loss to the Canadiens. The fan called into Team 990 Montreal after that game to relate the story.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday that the Blackhawks were going to deal with it internally. Quenneville looked more amused than anything in addressing it.

Well leave it at that, he said with a grin.
Briefly

Marcus Kruger and John Scott were the healthy scratches on Wednesday night.

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

Blackhawks improve faceoffs in Jonathan Toews’ absence

Blackhawks improve faceoffs in Jonathan Toews’ absence

Yanic Perreault came onto the ice as the Blackhawks wrapped up practice on Thursday.

It’s been a relatively common sight the last few seasons. Most of the time, Perreault has helped out when a particular player is struggling from the faceoff dot. That was true with Artem Anisimov earlier this season. But with Jonathan Toews sidelined the Blackhawks have been even more focused on improving upon and winning faceoffs. Thanks to the extra diligence, they’ve done that.

The Blackhawks’ overall faceoff performance has steadily improved. They’ll see how it goes again on Friday night when they face the New York Rangers, their eighth consecutive game without Toews.

“We’re working almost every practice and trying to get better on faceoffs,” Anisimov said on Thursday. “If we win the faceoff, we start with the puck and it’s pretty good. You can go to the offensive zone or win in the offensive zone you start with the puck and you have the opportunity to shoot the puck all day and get chances. It’s a big part of the game.”

Enter Perreault, who was a great faceoff man during his NHL career. The Blackhawks players say Perreault offers a wealth of information in each session.

“It’s different every day. The whole science behind it, he’s been great since he was brought in,” Marcus Kruger said. “He always has something new he wants us to work on, whether it’s just timing or body-positioning or something like that. It’s a lot of different stuff and we work on new stuff every day.”

Rasmussen agreed.

“It’s a lot of things you can work on,” he said. “You try to work on being in a low position so you get stronger. [There are] a lot of small things on how you can go against other guys that do it certain way, and you have to find your own way, too.”

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Their first game without Toews, against the Anaheim Ducks, was dismal. Part of that is the Ducks having some tremendous face-off guys. But Toews is the Blackhawks’ best at the dot – he’s won 60.3 percent of the time this season – so that first game without him was rough.

Here’s how things have progressed for the Blackhawks, with faceoffs won and lost and percentage, in Toews’ absence.

Opponent Wins-Losses Percent
Ducks 18-49 27 percent
Kings 21-37 36 percent
Panthers 39-35 53 percent
Devils 22-27 45 percent
Flyers 22-31 42 percent
Jets 31-27 53 percent
Coyotes 30-28 52 percent

So yes, there’s been improvement.

“I think we hold our own,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Yan works well with our center men, they take pride in trying to be the best they can and now they’re taking some important faceoffs and some they probably haven’t taken in the past, whether they’re defensive or special-teams faceoffs. They’ve all won some important faceoffs for us at key times, too.”

The Blackhawks have done their best filling the void left by Toews, especially on faceoffs. There’s been a lot of work put into it, especially with Perreault following practices. But the results have been there.

“We know we’d like to start with the puck, and we had a couple of tough games when Jonny went down initially,” Quenneville said. “But it’s been much better since.”

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook out vs. Rangers

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook out vs. Rangers

Brent Seabrook is out and Jonathan Toews will miss his eighth consecutive game when the Blackhawks host the New York Rangers on Friday night.

Seabrook suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. The defenseman fell awkwardly along the boards and was down for a few moments. Coach Joel Quenneville said Seabrook is day-to-day. Quenneville added he’ll decide tomorrow who takes Seabrook’s place in the lineup.

“Seabs has played really well for us on the back end this year and we’ll definitely miss his contributions,” Quenneville said. “We’re looking for someone to step in.”

Toews is feeling better and could skate on Friday. Quenneville would not rule out the possibility of Toews returning Sunday against the Dallas Stars.

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Duncan Keith did not practice on Thursday but he’s expected to play vs. the Rangers. Scott Darling will start.

Quenneville said Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy on Saturday, is “status quo.”

Meanwhile, Nick Schmaltz, who was assigned to Rockford over the weekend, scored two goals in the IceHogs’ 3-2 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.

“I talked to Norm (Maciver, Blackhawks assistant general manager) about his game, they were extremely happy with how he played,” Quenneville said of Schmaltz. “He scored twice and there could’ve been more.”