Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
Posted 10:04 PM Updated 11:20 PM
By Tracey Myers
Its become a mantra for the Chicago Blackhawks, so much so that coach Joel Quenneville emphasized it again on Thursday. The Blackhawks, he said, need to be harder to play against.
On Friday, against the best in the West, they were.
Tomas Kopecky scored twice and Corey Crawford stopped 29 of 30 shots as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Chris Chelios Heritage Night at the United Center.
On a night when the Blackhawks honored one of the best defensemen to ever play, they played one of their best defensive games of the season. Save a Patrick Eaves goal early in the first, the Blackhawks kept the Wings offense at bay and never let their potent power play see the ice.
It just seemed like tonight was as close to a perfect game as you could get, said Brent Seabrook, who had two assists and was a plus-1 on the night. We feel confident we can play that game all the time and we have to continue to do that. We need to bring what made us successful tonight to every game.
Friday was a good start and the Blackhawks helped their own cause by getting out to a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes. Patrick Sharp scored on the only power play of the night and Bryan Bickell tallied his third goal in as many games.
Tomas Kopeckys goal put the Blackhawks up 3-1 midway through the second, when Brian Campbell hit him with a pretty pass on a delayed penalty call.
I initially wanted to pass it wide but they cheated on it, Campbell said. Kopy did a great job skating through. I saw him late, I got it to him and he did the rest.
Kopecky, a former Red Wing, added an empty netter late in the third. It was Kopeckys first goals since he scored one on Nov. 30 against St. Louis.
Crawford was once again solid in goal. He stopped the initial shots, and the Blackhawks didnt make him see many rebounds.
That was probably our best game in the last few. It was nice to get out to an early lead. That was our best third period in a while, too, Crawford said. Guys were moving the pucks out, especially in the third. They were picking off passes in front of the net.
The Blackhawks were harder to play against on Friday. Thats the kind of game theyve wanted to play all along this season and the one they know they need to play to stay among the Top 8 in the conference.
Its easy to get excited about the rivalry of the game and playing Detroit, you know every shift is critical to the outcome, Quenneville said. The focus was in the right place tonight. I like their mindset of playing with a purpose.
Kane, Hossa update
Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa both lower body are expected to skate Saturday morning. Kane said he is hopeful to play Sunday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
Part of the injury I have is that youre going to feel pain, whether practice or a game, Kane said. For me, its something Im going to have to deal with a little bit. Hopefully it stops sooner rather than later.
Hossa wasnt sounding quite as optimistic for Sunday, but he was encouraged by his Friday skate.
After two days off coming back on the ice I feel much better. Right now, I feel its getting closer, Hossa said. It all depends on how I feel (Saturday) or (Sunday). But I definitely feel better than I did Monday and Tuesday.
Fernando Pisani returned on Friday after missing eight games with an upper-body injury. He played just under 18 minutes, recorded an assist and finished plus-1.
Bryan Bickells goal was his fifth in his last six games.
Jack Skille had a team-leading nine shots on goal on Friday.
Viktor Stalberg was out on Friday night. Quenneville said theyd see where he was on Saturday morning.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.