Keith's clutch shot nets Blackhawks vital point

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Keith's clutch shot nets Blackhawks vital point

Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011
Posted 9:43 p.m. Updated 10:50 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. On Friday the Chicago Blackhawks barely held on to get to a shootout. On Saturday they clawed their way back into one.

It was a little more satisfying how the Blackhawks got that one point on Saturday compared to the day before. But it was nonetheless frustrating that they couldnt come up with one more.

Troy Brouwer and Duncan Keith scored power-play goals but the Blackhawks came up empty in the shootout in a 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. The Blackhawks went 2-2-2 on this road trip and remain in 11th place in the tight Western Conference race.

Dave Bolland had two assists for the Blackhawks. Radim Vrbata was the lone scorer in the shootout, beating Corey Crawford with a high backhand shot.

You never know whats going to happen in a shootout. Thats why you try not to get it that far, said defenseman Brian Campbell. We didnt capitalize on the first period or overtime. Its frustrating not to come out with two points.

Still, as opposed to Friday when the Blackhawks squandered a 3-0 lead against Dallas, they rallied on Saturday. They were down 2-0 barely a minute into the second period and dug their way out on the strength of their power play.
Radim Vrbata scores the only goal of the shootout to defeat the Blackhawks 3-2. However, the way the Blackhawks fought back to earn a point felt a little better to players than picking up the point in Dallas the previous evening. (AP)
It was better, captain Jonathan Toews said. We played a much more efficient and smart game. We played hard for each other and the way our team is supposed to. You get down a goal or two to that team it isnt an easy thing. It was a good job by our power play.

The Blackhawks had to have felt some fatigue entering this one. It was their fourth game in six days, second in as many nights. Despite all that, the Blackhawks came out strong once again.

They peppered Ilya Bryzgalov with double-digit shots through the opening minutes, with the Phoenix netminder holding strong. Vrbatas breakaway on a long clearing pass put the Coyotes up 1-0.

I thought we had a real good start to the game, coach Joel Quenneville said. That breakaway couldve been preventable and they got a lot of momentum off it.

The Blackhawks got their power play going again at the right time, with Brouwer taking Marian Hossas pass in the slot and firing one past Bryzagalov. Keiths effort tied it with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.

Was Saturdays one point more enjoyable than Fridays? Considering how each was reached, probably. But the Blackhawks know that one point here or there isnt going to make much headway.

At least we got one. But at this point we need more two-point games than one-point ones, said Crawford, who stopped 23 of 25 in the shootout loss. We battled back, got in a little trouble, I gave up a tough one and gave them a ton of momentum but we were able to hold them back and came back pretty strong. That shows a lot of character.

Injury update

Fernando Pisani was out on Saturday night and coach Joel Quenneville said hes still day to day with an upper body injury sustained against the Stars on Friday night.

Ryan Johnson was placed on injured reserve on Saturday after suffering an upper-body injury Friday in Dallas.

Jake Dowell missed Saturdays game with the flu.
Briefly

Marian Hossa returned after missing Fridays game with the flu. His assist on Troy Brouwers goal gave him his 800th career NHL point.

The Blackhawks called up Jeff Taffe from Rockford on Saturday. He played just over four minutes against the Coyotes.

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

Blackhawks agree to terms with Nathan Noel on entry-level contract

Blackhawks agree to terms with Nathan Noel on entry-level contract

The Blackhawks strengthened their organizational depth Thursday, announcing the signing of forward Nathan Noel to a three-year entry-level contract that kicks in next season and runs through the 2019-20 campaign. 

Noel, a fourth-round draft pick (No. 113 overall) in 2016, tied a career high with 24 goals — including six game winners — and added 26 assists for 50 points in 52 games during his fourth regular season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was sidelined for a little more than a month in December and January due to an upper-body injury.

The 19-year-old center has raised his game in the postseason, racking up eight goals and 18 assists in 33 games from 2015-17, including six assists in 12 contests so far during the 2017 QMJHL playoffs. Across four years at Saint John, he amassed 208 points (85 goals, 123 assists) in 242 career regular-season games.

Noel is teammates with forward Matthew Highmore, who leads the Sea Dogs in scoring and was signed by the Blackhawks in March to a three-year deal as an undrafted free agent.

Noel is an undersized forward at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, but he's a fast skater with offensive upside. He'll likely start the 2017-18 season in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs, who desperately needed scoring last year. 

Blackhawks' Nick Schmaltz added to USA's roster for 2017 IIHF World Championship

Blackhawks' Nick Schmaltz added to USA's roster for 2017 IIHF World Championship

Nick Schmaltz will be joining Blackhawks teammate Trevor van Riemsdyk on Team USA at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, the club announced Thursday.

It will be his first career appearance on the U.S. men's national team and third time representing his country in world-championship play, most recently winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Juniors. He scored two goals and added six assists in seven games during that tournament.

Schmaltz just completed his first professional season with the Blackhawks, where he tallied six goals and 22 assists in 61 games. 

After the year ended, he spoke about the possibility of playing for USA in this tournament and what it would mean to him.

"I think it's a great tournament," Schmaltz said. "You get to play with a lot of great players. Look like a lot of great players are going to the tournament, so it's definitely a big stage. It would be a fun tournament."

The roster now includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders. Among the other NHLers going for the Americans: Danny DeKeyser, Noah Hanifin, Jimmy Howard, Dylan Larkin, Anders Lee, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Murphy, Brock Nelson and Jacob Trouba.

Blackhawks forwards Marcus Kruger (Sweden) and Artemi Panarin (Russia) will also compete in the tournament, which begins May 5 and runs until May 21 in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.