Emery gets the nod tonight in Phoenix

944785.png

Emery gets the nod tonight in Phoenix

GLENDALE, Ariz. Corey Crawford had a solid 2013 debut in the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday. But with a busy schedule, coach Joel Quenneville turns to his backup for tonight.
Ray Emery will get the start in goal when the Blackhawks play the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing.Com Arena. It was a bit of a surprise, only because were just two games into the season. But with the 48-game schedule being as tight as it is, Quenneville wanted to go with Emery.
With the back-to-back games, with six games in nine days, we want to get Ray in a game, get him part of the team right off the bat and get a game under his belt as well, Quenneville said Sunday morning. He played well for us when he played for us last year, as well.
Emery was solid last season, and provided strong relief when Crawford struggled. The Blackhawks will have a fast-and-furious schedule these next few weeks, and that includes a lot of road games. Last week, he said a few factors could dictate how he split Crawford and Emerys time, including necessary rest, back-to-backs and playing the hot hand.
Even or not, with back-to-backs theyll (both) get a chance to play, he said. The way they play dictates how often they play. A lot of decisions come into if theyre playing well and if we need to monitor their rest.

Fast Break Morning Update: Hawks smash Penguins; Are Cubs better than last year?

Fast Break Morning Update: Hawks smash Penguins; Are Cubs better than last year?

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

On paper, have Cubs put together a better roster than last year's World Series team?

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is ready for new challenge with the Fire

NBA Buzz: Nikola Mirotic making Bulls' offseason decision tougher

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

Comfy Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

usatsi_9979827.jpg
USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.