LIVE: Sharp scores No. 34, Hawks trail 3-2

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LIVE: Sharp scores No. 34, Hawks trail 3-2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
11:15 a.m.

Associated Press
An end to the Chicago Blackhawks' longest winning streak of the season slowed their pursuit of the lead in the Central Division.

A season-worst skid to start this month has cost the Tampa Bay Lightning their place atop the Southeast.

After their first loss in nine games, the Blackhawks will try to get back on track with their 11th win in 14 games against the Lightning on Wednesday night.

Chicago (37-24-6) was one win shy of matching the longest streak in franchise history, and six points behind Detroit in the Central heading into Tuesday's game against Florida.

The Blackhawks couldn't take advantage of the last-place Panthers, and had their eight-game run snapped as they gave up three first-period goals in a 3-2 loss.

Corey Crawford, who was making his 12th consecutive start in goal, was pulled after the opening 20 minutes, and Marty Turco was barely challenged in relief. Chicago got within one as Marian Hossa extended his point streak to eight games, but it couldn't find the equalizer despite a 29-7 shots advantage over the final two periods.

"I've been around a while and I don't know if I've ever seen a bigger lesson to be learned than I did tonight," Turco said. "Whatever it is we thought to ourselves or did, changed after one period. It was one heck of a wake-up call.

"The way we played (the last two periods) was unreal, but sometimes it's disappointing. Why can't we play like that all the time?"

A night earlier, the Lightning were left scratching their heads for a different reason. They couldn't figure out Washington rookie goaltender Braden Holtby in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Capitals, who now lead the Southeast.

Sean Bergenheim scored in the first period and Tampa Bay (37-21-8) stayed there for much of the game thanks to a strong effort from Dwayne Roloson in net. The Lightning, though, gave up the tying goal with 5:32 remaining in regulation, and couldn't get any of their three shots past Holtby in the tiebreaker.

Tampa Bay also had some bad luck as Vincent Lecavalier's third-period goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference.

The fourth straight defeat pushed the Lightning two points behind the Capitals in the division. Tampa Bay's 0-3-1 slump is its longest since a five-game skid last March 14-21.

"It's been a tough week, week and a half. That's why we have to battle and persist," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's easy to persist when things go easy. Now, they're just not turning our way."

Recent games against Chicago usually haven't gone Tampa Bay's way either as it's 2-9-1 with two ties in the last 14 matchups. The Blackhawks have outscored the Lightning 14-4 in the last three, including last season's 4-0 win at the United Center.

Jonathan Toews, who had a nine-game point streak snapped Tuesday, has registered four goals and an assist in those games. Patrick Kane, who is on a six-game point streak, has contributed two goals and five assists.

The Blackhawks are 3-0-1 with one tie in their last five trips to the St. Pete Times Forum.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Marian Hossa keeps producing as Blackhawks find chemistry

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Marian Hossa keeps producing as Blackhawks find chemistry

In the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle is joined by Steve Konroyd and Tracey Myers following the Blackhawks 4-0 shutout win over the Coyotes.

The crew breaks down how the Blackhawks keep finding ways to win, how Marian Hossa has remained a top-six forward and how the team seems to have finally found some chemistry without Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford.

Listen to the latest episode below:

Five Things from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Is Brent Seabrook OK?

Five Things from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Is Brent Seabrook OK?

The Blackhawks weren’t exactly reeling — they had only lost two straight games, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Still, they didn’t like the direction in which they were going, especially offensively.

Tuesday was a test in terms of playing another game without Jonathan Toews, another game without Corey Crawford and finding a way against a team that’s struggled this season. The Blackhawks passed the test, finding their offense and denying the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-0 victory.

This week doesn’t get any easier for the Blackhawks, who might be without another top player. We’ll find out more about that in a few days. So before we call it a night, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Coyotes.

1. Slow start, but another first-period lead. Seriously, I’m just going to type this paragraph up for every game and just switch out the name of the opponent. On Tuesday the Coyotes, who played Monday night in Columbus, outshot the Blackhawks early. But thanks to Artem Anisimov’s power-play goal, the Blackhawks led 1-0 after one. It wasn’t a shocker that the Coyotes came out strong early. But again, off the back-to-back, they looked like they were losing steam as the game continued.

2. Brent Seabrook does not return. Seabrook got tangled up with Jordan Martinook late in the second period and, after being down a few moments while holding his head, went to the locker room. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Seabrook is on Wednesday — the Blackhawks don’t practice again until Thursday. The Blackhawks have good depth at defense, as we’ve seen throughout this season. Still, missing Seabrook is always a loss.

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3. Marian Hossa scores his 13th and 14th of the season. In some previous seasons that might not mean anything tremendous, other than the Blackhawks would take every one of them. But on Tuesday night, in his 27th game of the season, Hossa surpassed his goal total of last season (13 in 64 games). His second, a breakaway off a pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson, put an exclamation point on this one. So, is it time to just admit Hossa is a cyborg? “I’d believe it. I wouldn’t put it past him,” Scott Darling said. “I still can’t believe how fast he is. He’s one of the fastest players I’ve ever been with. He’s an impressive human being.”

4. Scott Darling with the shutout. Maybe it didn’t seem like that overwhelming of a shutout (22 stops), but it was a good outcome for the backup goaltender, who was tremendous on Sunday but nevertheless took the loss to Winnipeg. Darling was still facing a tough situation in the third period — seeing zip. The Coyotes didn’t get their first third-period shot on goal until there was less than six minutes remaining in it. “It’s not ideal. But I guess it’s better than seeing 30 shots in a period,” Darling said. “Beggars can’t be choosers. You just have to stay with it mentally.”

5. Quick strikes in the second period. We’re all familiar with 17 seconds. On Tuesday the Blackhawks had 19 seconds. They scored twice in that time frame (Hossa and Dennis Rasmussen). From that point on, the Blackhawks looked comfortable and confident. Said Quenneville, “We had the puck a lot more. That’s been what we’re trying to get to where we want to go. Tonight was a good step.”