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.

Ryan Hartman defends teammate, but fight proves to be turning point in Blackhawks loss to Oilers

Ryan Hartman defends teammate, but fight proves to be turning point in Blackhawks loss to Oilers

The NHL implemented the bye week for the first time this season in an effort to give teams a five-day break before the stretch run of the regular season.

Entering Saturday's game, teams were 3-10-3 coming out of those games with many of those losses coming in convincing fashion.

Despite a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, the Blackhawks weren't one of those teams. They appeared to be reenergized more than rusty, and it showed in the opening 20 minutes of the game when they fired off 30 shot attempts (12 on goal) compared to the Oilers' 10 (four on goal).

But early in the second period, momentum shifted after Ryan Hartman came to the defense of teammate Tanner Kero, who was leveled by Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba in the neutral zone.

Hartman skated over to Gryba and dropped the gloves near the goal line, afterwards getting tagged with a two-minute penalty for instigating, five minutes for fighting and another 10 for a misconduct.

"It's kind of a no-brainer for me," Hartman said of sticking up for Kero. "I tried waiting long enough so it wasn't an instigator but it's kind of a judgment call I guess, some refs call it different ways. Unfortunately it ended up in a power play for them, but it's something you've got to do."

Hartman said he and the official had a discussion about the instigator penalty for clarity, which was handed to him due to the distance traveled after the hit.

Hartman said after the game that he respects the decision, but teammates and coaches didn't necessarily agree with the call.

"Thought they both had an agreement," Jonathan Toews said of the fight. "It looked like they were both going to go at it. Don’t think Hartsy jumped him by any means. But I guess just because there’s a previous hit immediately before that, then he got the instigator there."

Said Joel Quenneville: "I don't necessarily know that he was going to start the fight. I think he went over there to talk to the guy, so you lose Hartsy there."

And it proved to be the turning point.

Less than two minutes later, the Oilers capitalized on the power play after Matt Benning's shot ricocheted off Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk's skate and into the net, putting Edmonton out in front first.

They wouldn't look back, hanging on to beat the Blackhawks 3-1, and getting revenge on a team that beat them last week 5-1 in their first game out of the bye.

While it may not have been an opportune time to do it, the Blackhawks appreciate Hartman's game and know more times than not, his energy will result in a positive outcome.

"We haven’t seen a lot of fights this year so, no matter what, it always gets us going, especially in our own building," Toews said. "I think the fans love that sort of thing, too, and Hartsy’s been going after guys who are a lot bigger than him this year. We love that fearless play and definitely helps our guys feed off it."

"Hartsy's a competitive guy," Quenneville said. "We like him to have that a little bit of abrasiveness and unpredictably so there's nothing wrong with that. We like the way he competes and what he brings us."

Power play goes quiet: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Oilers

Power play goes quiet: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Oilers

OK, another team lost coming off the bye, the Blackhawks taking a 3-1 defeat to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. But this wasn’t a bad-off-the-bye loss. Not even close.

The overall numbers of how teams are faring out of these bye weeks won’t improve. Tampa Bay lost coming out of its bye week, too. But you wonder about the individual cases, especially when the Blackhawks did so much right and came away with nothing.

Anyway, onto the notables.

What Worked: Most of the Blackhawks’ game. Coming off that long break you wondered how long it was going to take the Blackhawks to get their legs going. Not long at all. They challenged Cam Talbot throughout the game. They had momentum through most of it. They finally got a late third-period goal. They just couldn’t get another one. Coach Joel Quenneville thought the shot selection near the net could’ve been better, and it probably could have. But the Blackhawks wanted a 60-minute effort and got it.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. The Blackhawks were getting on a roll on the road in this department, going 6-for-12 on the advantage in their last five games. But on Saturday it was quiet. They had two power-play opportunities in the first period when they were dominating the Oilers. Nada. Same went for a third-period chance, when they were trailing 1-0. The Blackhawks were starting to gain steam on the power play on the road. It fizzled in this one.

Star of the game: Cam Talbot. The Oilers goaltender didn’t have a great game when these two met last Saturday but he made up for it in this one. Talbot was sharp from the start, stopping 38 of 39 shots, and what rebounds he did give up his teammates cleaned up for him.

He Said It: “I know we have so many games left to narrow that gap. We have them coming up this week. They’re ahead right now. It’s a good hockey team and they’re playing extremely well. We’d like to give them something to think about but coming off a great run off the road and let’s go back out there and try to get it going again.” Coach Joel Quenneville on still trying to catch the Minnesota Wild, who they’ll play on Tuesday.

By the Numbers:

900 – Career regular-season games for Brent Seabrook. The defenseman also had four of the Blackhawks’ 22 hits against the Oilers.

600 – Career points for Jonathan Toews, who recorded the primary assist on Richard Panik’s third-period goal. It was Toews’ 25th assist of the season.

26 – Blocked shots for the Edmonton Oilers. Andrej Sekera had six of them.

19 – Faceoffs won, to five lost, for Toews against the Oilers.