Hawks continue winning ways despite injuries

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Hawks continue winning ways despite injuries

Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010
8:26 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks arent going to worry much about style points. They dont need fancy and they dont need dazzling right now. They just need points.

So taking that team mentality in against a Los Angeles Kings squad that wasnt allowing much, the Blackhawks got just enough.

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Fernando Pisani scored and Corey Crawford stopped 26-of-28 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-2 at the United Center on Sunday night. It was their second consecutive victory and a gritty one, as the Blackhawks were once again without three forwards -- coach Joel Quenneville was hopeful that Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg could play Wednesday vs. Nashville.

While Sundays victory may have not as been as snazzy as their triumph over Detroit on Friday, it was just as effective.

Well take it, Quenneville said. This was a tough game tonight. Two of their last three games on the road (the Kings) won by five, so we knew we had a dangerous opponent that was playing well. We did what we had to do.

The Blackhawks clogged lanes and made it harder for Kings netminder Jonathan Quick to see shots. Troy Brouwer epitomized that, getting around Quick on both Toews and Keiths goals.

Its something we preach a lot; we try to emphasize going to the net. If the goalie sees the puck were not going to score, Quenneville said. Brouw was good. I thought that line had a big night as well. You get rewarded when you go to the net and it can lead to quality goals. It doesnt have to be pretty.

Toews laser gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead midway through the first. Kyle Clifford scored early in the second period to tie it for the Kings, but Keith answered just 25 seconds later to put the Blackhawks up 2-1 and stall Los Angeles momentum.

Anytime you can get a goal right back like that its big for your team, said Toews, who also assisted on Keiths goal. I think one way or another, were going to find a way tonight, whether we had a lead early on or not. We knew the situation we were in.

Pisanis goal proved to be the game-winner. Patrick Sharp had two assists. Crawford came up big on several Kings shots en route to his second consecutive victory. The Blackhawks helped him out, too, blocking 22 shots Brent Seabrook had a team-high five blocks.

When you limit their quality chances, its going to be better for him and for all of us, said Keith, who played just over 23 minutes and was a plus-2. He did a good job tonight again.

No, it wasnt dazzling. But be it pretty or the hard-hat approach, the Blackhawks dont care how they get two points, as long as they get them.

Obviously thats the way we expect to play, and the way we know we can play every single night, Toews said. Going into every game now, we just have to remind ourselves that its much more enjoyable when everyone plays the way we did tonight, and when everyones prepared the way we have as a team the last couple games. Were going to have way more fun, especially in our own building.

Briefly

Jassen Cullimore cleared waivers Saturday afternoon and played for the Blackhawks on Sunday night. Quenneville said he talked briefly to the veteran Cullimore about the decision. When youre in the middle of that, its something thats tough to comment on. Afterward, seeing different decisions made, its more a business decision than hockey decision. You dont want to read too much into it and look ahead. Hes good about it. Hes a good pro. I liked his game the other night in that situation.

While Hossa and Stalberg skated on Sunday morning, Patrick Kane (left ankle) did not. Quenneville said the last couple times (Kane) was on the ice, he didnt get through practice. Well give him a little time here.

The Blackhawks had 35 hits against the Kings; Brouwer was credited with a team-high seven, followed by Seabrook with five.

Bryan Bickell had an assist on Sunday, giving him points in six of his last seven games (4 goals, 3 assists).

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

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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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.