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 ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

When the Blackhawks traded to get Brandon Saad back, they also acquired Anton Forsberg, who they believe is ready to be their latest backup goaltender. On Monday they signed him to a two-year deal.

The Blackhawks inked two players on Monday, Forsberg, whose contract runs through the 2018-19 season, and Tomas Jurco, who agreed to a one-year contract extension.

Forsberg joins the Blackhawks having very little NHL experience – he’s played 10 career games at this level, going 1-8-0. But the Blackhawks’ previous two backup goaltenders, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling, hadn’t made an NHL appearance before joining the Blackhawks. Forsberg led the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL-affiliate team, to a Calder Cup title in 2016; during that run he went 9-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

On Friday, when the Blackhawks acquired Saad and Forsberg from Columbus for Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte, general manager Stan Bowman said the team is, “optimistic about Anton’s potential.”

“We like his profile as a goalie,” he said. “He’s a big guy, takes up a lot of net, has that mobility and makes good positional saves as well as athletic saves. A year ago, led his team to the [Calder] Cup championships, so he knows what it’s like to put a team on his back. It was the AHL but he’s had a lot of success there. He’s earned the right to be an NHL goalie.”

Jurco, acquired by the Blackhawks from Detroit in February, played 13 games with them down the regular-season stretch. Bowman said shortly after the trade that Jurco would get a chance here.

“We’ll be patient with him but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play,” he said. “I think a lot of ways, sometimes guys need different opportunities. It doesn’t work out in every place. A fresh start will be great for Tomas.”

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”