Flyers ground Hawks in Stanley Cup rematch

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Flyers ground Hawks in Stanley Cup rematch

Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011
Posted: 2:04 p.m. Updated: 3:46 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks needed a second consecutive complete game on Sunday. Instead, they got behind in the second period against a Philadelphia Flyers team that was more than ready to capitalize.

Jeff Carter scored twice and Claude Giroux had four assists as the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 4-1, their first meeting since the Stanley Cup Finals. The loss snapped a four-game home winning streak for the Blackhawks, who didnt push back after the Flyers grabbed control in the second period.

Jonathan Toews played nearly 20 minutes one day after he said he sustained a lower-body injury against Detroit. Toews sat out the final few minutes of that game, which the Blackhawks led late, and said the injury was nothing serious; obviously it felt pretty good (today).

I look at it two ways: youre either good enough to go or youre not. I felt I was good enough, Toews said. Whether playing with something or 100 percent, have to find a way to produce.

The Blackhawks, however, couldnt find that way on Sunday. Marian Hossa scored the lone goal, a penalty shot awarded to him after Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn put his hand on the puck near the crease. But Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped the other 30 shots, most of which were one-time Blackhawks offerings with no second or third attempts.

It seems like there were a few rebounds around him but we couldnt get there, Hossa said. We have to be, especially in these games, maybe more dirty going to the net and get those little rebounds there.

Both teams brought energy and venom in the first period, which ended scoreless. Bryan Bickell and Scott Hartnells fight added a little more fuel to the opening frame.

But the Flyers turned it up in the second period, swarming around Corey Crawford and fighting for those extra shot opportunities. The Flyers went up 1-0 when Carter, in the midst of a scrum, poked the puck past Crawford.

A lot of it comes from good defense, breaking plays up, and getting odd-man rushes, Carter said. I think weve been pretty solid in that area and hopefully we can keep going at it.

The Flyers outshot the Blackhawks 19-9 in the second. Crawford stopped 30 of 33 for the game.

The bottom line is they started to outwork us, Niklas Hjalmarsson said of the second. They played real good, at the same time we didnt play like we did (Saturday). If you have a couple bad moments against a team like Philly theyre going to score on you.

Nikolay Zherdev scored the game-winner, a wraparound, early in the third. Carter scored his after Giroux grabbed an errant Blackhawks pass less than three minutes later.

We werent on the same page and that made it harder to be predictable, especially in the offensive zone, Toews said. We came out flat, and against a team like that its not easy to come back.

More on Toews

Toews played nearly 20 minutes on Sunday, playing through that lower-body injury. Asked if Toews needs to rest on Monday, coach Joel Quenneville said, well see. We have a big game coming up on Tuesday (against Minnesota, so well see whats going on.
The Cup rematch

The Flyers made their first trip back to Chicago since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last June. If the Flyers were thinking about redemption, they werent talking about it.

Its obviously nice to beat Chicago with the way last year ended; nothing was said in the room before, Jeff Carter said. Each guy individually knew what was going on today and it was a big two points for us.

While the Blackhawks have had their ups and downs, the Flyers have just been up. Their 69 points leads not only the Eastern Conference, but its also tops in the NHL.

Theyre a top team for a lot of reasons, coach Joel Quenneville said. Theyve got a lot of weapons and their goalie was strong in net.
Marian Hossa's goal on a penalty shot was the first by a Blackhawk at the United Center and the first overall for the franchise since 1987. (AP)
Murrays reign over

When Hossa converted his third-period penalty shot, he became the first Blackhawks player to score one at the United Center. He was also the first Blackhawk to do it in Chicago since Troy Murray, who put one past Minnesota North Stars goaltender Kari Takko on Dec. 30, 1987.

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.