Hawks ground Hurricanes for seventh straight

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Hawks ground Hurricanes for seventh straight

Friday, March 4, 2011
Posted: 10:02 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

In their last two victories, the Chicago Blackhawks held on after allowing more third-period goals than they wouldve liked. On Friday, they were scoring most of them instead.

Five different Blackhawks scored goals, with Ryan Johnson, Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane recording theirs in the third period, as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 at the United Center on Friday night. The Blackhawks have now won seven in a row, their longest winning streak since November of 2009, and at head into Saturday in fourth place in the Western Conference.

Theyre just four points (78) behind third-place San Jose (82).

The Blackhawks had a 2-1 lead entering the third on Friday as opposed to the three-goal leads theyve had their previous two games. But on this night, the Blackhawks didnt get into defensive mode to stave off the Hurricanes. They kept pushing, getting three goals within four minutes and 28 seconds of each other. Johnson, who scored his first of the season, and Bollands goals were just 67 seconds apart.

Its something weve talked about for a while, just keeping our foot on the gas and tonight we did that, said Duncan Keith. Its nice to finish strong there in the third, something we didnt do in the last couple games.

Jonathan Toews is now on a season-long eight-game scoring streak after he tallied his 26th goal just 55 seconds into the game. Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford stopped 18-of-20 for his seventh consecutive victory.

We keep getting a ton of chances and score a ton of goals. For a goaltender, thats kind of nice when the guys are scoring that many, Crawford said. Weve been good all year, especially offensively. That hasnt really changed.

Newly acquired defenseman Chris Campoli added two assists, including the primary one when he led the charge on Johnsons goal.

Im just reading the play, said Campoli, whos already made a solid pair with Brian Campbell. He gave me the room and Im just taking what they give me and I guess maybe its that I feel more comfortable.

For the Blackhawks, the third-period barrage was just one high point. They got balanced scoring throughout their lines. They were also stellar in the faceoff circle, winning 47-of-66 draws. Johnson won 14-of-19, Toews took 13-of-18 and Jake Dowell was 11-of-12.

That was a big night. I think everybody had significant numbers there, coach Joel Quenneville said. It helps starting with the puck when you attack. That puck possession is complementary to our team game.

The Blackhawks head out for the next four games, all against Eastern Conference opponents. Nevertheless, Quenneville said they have to approach them like theyre fellow West teams jostling for a playoff spot.

Well face some (Eastern) opponents we havent seen but we still have to approach it like theyre 4-point games and take care of what we can control right now, he said. Where were at right now, we want to forge ahead and at least solidify where were at. Thats our motivation.

Good duo
The Campoli-Campbell defensive combo is only two games old, but its working out well thus far. Quenneville likes how the two feed off each other, and Campbell concurred.

He gets open well and hes an easy guy to play with, Campbell said of his new partner. We talk a lot on the bench, discuss things, and he made a great play on the (Johnson) goal tonight. We just keep working things out and were fine.

Briefly
Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa each had two assists on Friday.

Patrick Kane played in his 300th game on Friday, becoming the second-youngest Blackhawk to do so at 22 years, 105 days old. Grant Mulvey was the youngest at 22 years, 32 days.

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

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

The Blackhawks made a minor league deal on Saturday, announcing the acquisition of forward Michael Latta from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Cameron Schilling.

Latta, 25, has two goals and four assists in 29 games this season with the Ontario (Calif.) Reign of the American Hockey League.

He has four goals and 13 assists in 113 career games in the National Hockey League, all with the Washington Capitals from 2013-16.

Latta, who was a third-round pick (No. 72 overall) by the Nashville Predators in 2009, will report to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. He carries a $600,000 cap hit, and is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Schilling ranked second among defensemen on the IceHogs with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 40 games, and had a minus-3 rating. The 28-year-old blue liner signed a two-year contract worth $575,000 per season with the Blackhawks in July 2015.

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

See the Blackhawks get off to a slow start. See the Blackhawks get outshot. See the Blackhawks lean on their goaltending. See the Blackhawks find some offense in the third period. See the Blackhawks win.

This is a story the Blackhawks have written and played out plenty this season. Despite all evidence that it should work out to the contrary, the Blackhawks continue to pull out victories. But as we're well into the second half of the season, how much longer can they win with this formula? And is this, more than anything, a testament to how much they need to acquire someone (or plural) at the deadline to bolster their forward lineup?

Entering Sunday night's game against Vancouver the Blackhawks remain second in the Western Conference, two points behind Minnesota. Not surprisingly, they enter Sunday coming off another one-goal victory, a 1-0 decision over Boston on Friday night. Friday's game was cut from the same cloth as so many other one-goal games this season (please see above for the script). 

Here's how the Blackhawks are doing in one-goal games (through 48 games played this season) and how they've done in previous seasons:

Year Record
2016-17 18-7-5
2015-16 17-7-9
2014-15 22-13-6
2013-14 17-8-15
2012-13 19-3-5 (lockout yr.)
2011-12 22-6-11
2010-11 16-13-9
2009-10 23-9-8

The Blackhawks played 41 one-goal games (half of their regular-season games) in the 2014-15 season. Thirty of their 48 games this season have been one-goal games. But again, it comes down to how you're winning those games, and the Blackhawks are winning just about all of them in the same way: deal with a slow start and come back in the third period, relying on goaltending the entire time.

Being outshot the amount of times the Blackhawks have this season remains alarming. Sure, sometimes a lot of shots don't mean a lot of quality chances. But it's still better than minimal shots, and any shot can be an opportunity for a rebound, a deflection, something. From our stats guru Chris Kamka, here's a breakdown of the Blackhawks' shots per game vs. opponents, dating back to 2008-09:

Year Shots/Gm Opp. Shots/Gm Diff.
2008-09 32.7 28.6 +4.2
2009-10 34.1 25.1 +9.1
2010-11 32.2 28.7 +3.6
2011-12 31.5 28.6 +3.0
2012-13 31.1 26.2 +4.9
2013-14 33.1 27.2 +6.0
2014-15 33.9 30.2 +3.8
2015-16 30.5 30.8 -0.3
2016-17 29.3 31.1 -1.7

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

It's no surprise that the Blackhawks' differential was especially good in their Stanley Cup-winning seasons (and even 2013-14, when they went to the Western Conference Final). Those Blackhawks teams were deep, especially at forward. They weren't waiting for the perfect shooting opportunities as much as just firing. They had great four-line rotations, something they've sorely been lacking the past two seasons, which makes a difference with puck possession.

The Blackhawks will see what's available at the trade deadline. As I wrote a few days ago, there will be names out there but, considering some teams are still hoping for playoff spots, you take mentions for what they are right now. Over the next few weeks the picture will become clearer, and adding the right depth could rekindle that four-line rotation.

We've said throughout this season that the Blackhawks can't keep this up. We said it in November, and December, and now. Understand where we're coming from here; the Blackhawks can absolutely keep winning one-goal games. They've shown that in recent seasons and in the postseason, when the ability to do that is critical. But it's doubtful they can keep doing it the way they have most this season.