Myers: Hawks need to settle rollercoaster play

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Myers: Hawks need to settle rollercoaster play

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
3:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks have been through their ups and downs this season. Right now they wouldnt mind an extended up.

The Blackhawks have had three-game and four-game winning streaks this season, but theyve usually been followed by a losing streak of the same ilk. They got points against Ottawa on Friday night, holding on after blowing another third-period lead. But its imperative that the Blackhawks start collecting chunks of victories, especially in tight games like that.

Tied going into the third period, weve got to get something out of these type of games, coach Joel Quenneville said. Thats where we have to be stronger going forward. We have to put something together now.

The Blackhawks will try to make it two in a row on Sunday against the New York Islanders, a team thats dwelling near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The schedule wont be easy this second half, but the Blackhawks, eighth in the West entering Saturdays games, have to get things rolling soon.

Every year youve got one or two runs. This part of the season were going to need it, Quenneville said. You dont want to wait too long to put something together.
Kane better

As much as Patrick Kane was focused on the Blackhawks two points on Friday night, theres no doubt that he wants to get his own point production going again. Kane is still working back from the left ankle injury that kept him out about three weeks last month, but said it is getting better every day.

As far as re-injuring it, were past that, said Kane, who admits he may have been tentative when he first came back. I think everyone is when youre coming off an injury that keeps you out a bit. As far as being hurt for that period of time, maybe at first its about feeling things out and getting timing back. But its nice to get into the groove.

No thanks

Corey Crawford was hoping to talk with former Blackhawks goaltending great Glenn Hall at some point this weekend; Hall and a few other players from that 1961 Cup-winning team will be honored at Sunday nights game. But as far as playing netminder in Halls day, without masks, thats a different matter.

Ill tell you what, I wouldnt be a goalie if I grew up back then. Not a chance. Thats just crazy, Crawford said. To stand in front of a shot with nothing on your face, thats different.

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

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

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AP

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

PITTSBURGH – There are certain trends through which the Blackhawks tend to go sometimes. They can be so-so against teams on the bubble or out of the postseason. But face a playoff-bound team and the Blackhawks usually come with a top-notch game.

Exhibit A on that came on Wednesday.

Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane each had two-point nights, and Marian Hossa scored his 25th of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Penguins 5-1 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks snapped a three-game winless streak and now have a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the West.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots. Richard Panik scored his 22nd goal of the season. Bryan Rust had the Penguins' lone goal at 5:46 of the third.

The Penguins, much like the Blackhawks, entered this one with 103 points. The Penguins were without several injured players, including Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Trevor Daley. Still, it's the Penguins, and you can never take them lightly.

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The Blackhawks got the early lead, then really pounced in the final five-plus minutes of the first period. The Blackhawks got stellar set-up passes from Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz and finishes to accompany them. Two of their goals (Marcus Kruger and Hossa) came in the final minute of the first period for that 4-0 lead.

The Penguins had the first six shots of the third but the Blackhawks would score on their first of the period when Tanner Kero, taking the turnover from Justin Schultz, finished on a breakaway.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

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"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)