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.

Johnny Oduya feeling better, more up to speed with Blackhawks

Johnny Oduya feeling better, more up to speed with Blackhawks

Perhaps the best thing about the Johnny Oduya trade back to the Blackhawks, for both parties involved, was that Oduya wasn't needed immediately.

It's not that the Blackhawks didn't want the veteran defenseman, who helped them win Cups in 2013 and 2015, back in the lineup as soon as possible. Oduya was coming off an ankle injury, one he re-aggravated and missed about a month when he was with the Dallas Stars. He needed time to fully heal and with the Blackhawks in good shape in the standings and with solid depth at defense, he could.

Now with the playoffs right around the corner, Oduya is feeling more like himself.

Outside of missing two games that were the second halves of back-to-backs, Oduya has been playing steadily since March 9. Oduya's minutes have ranged from around 16 to 21 in games. He said he's now 100 percent healthy from his injury and he's feeling the difference on the ice.

"It makes a big difference," Oduya said on Thursday, prior to facing the Stars for the first time since his trade back to Chicago. "I mean, obviously sometimes you get more or less lucky, depending on what you get and the style of play and what you do or not. Skating is a part of my game I try to use as much as possible to get in good position and try to take away time from the opposition as much as possible.

"Even with battling and things like that, of course it's nice to feel more confident," Oduya added. "In any situation, you're in you want to feel confident on the ice."

The Blackhawks have seen that confidence in previous postseason runs and are looking to see it again in Oduya. Coach Joel Quenneville considers Oduya, "Mr. Reliability."

"You look back at what he delivered for us, not just the regular season, but he's been solid and reliable in the playoffs. He's assumed some important matchups and important minutes," Quenneville said. "Last year, we didn't have him on the back end and watching him this year, it was the perfect fit him coming back."

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The Blackhawks' defensive group hasn't changed much since Oduya's first stint here. The system probably hasn't been altered much, either. Still, Oduya's not taking anything for granted and is trying to get back on the same page quickly.

"Same as the last time I came into a great hockey team and I really just want to get up to speed and up to date as quickly as possible," Oduya said. "Little things that may have changed. I want to fit in as well as I can. That's the idea anyone has coming in late in the year. The guys here make it pretty easy; the coaching staff is familiar with the way I play and helps speed up things a little more."

The Blackhawks are trying to be their best heading into the postseason. So is Oduya. He needed a little extra time to get back to health and he may still need a little time to get back to speed, but he's just about there. 

"I feel pretty good. Of course it's a lot easier when you have guys around you you've seen before, a coaching staff," Oduya said. "It's a work in progress, anyway. I want to be better, I want to evolve with the team and want us to be better, too. It's a work in progress."

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.