Niemi stones Hawks again, Sharks bite in OT

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Niemi stones Hawks again, Sharks bite in OT

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
1:33 AM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

SAN JOSE, Calif. Viktor Stalbergs rebound shot in the second period beat Antti Niemi. Unfortunately for the Chicago Blackhawks, it wouldnt beat the whistle.

Stalbergs potential go-ahead goal was waived off after a referee blew the whistle first, and Ryan Clowes second goal of the night was the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks beat the Blackhawks 2-1 at HP Pavilion on Saturday night.

Jack Skille threw a shot at Niemi and the official, apparently thinking the Sharks goaltender had possession, blew the whistle. But Niemi never had it, and Stalberg knocked the loose puck in before it was waived off.

Thats the way things seem to be going for me right now, said Stalberg, who was benched in the third period of the Blackhawks 5-3 victory over Dallas on Wednesday. (Niemi) never had it, I dont know why he blew (the whistle) so quickly. You wait a half second its a goal. But it happens.

Jonathan Toews said the referee admitted his mistake.

He admitted he was wrong, that he blew the whistle too early. You appreciate that, but it still doesnt give you a 2-1 lead, he said. But youre not going to sit here and let something that happens like that dictate the final score of the game.

The Blackhawks still had their opportunities to make that waived-off goal a moot point. Jordan Hendry scored his first goal of the season but the Blackhawks couldnt get another one past Niemi.

You cant complain, coach Joel Quenneville said. Sometimes its just a quick whistle. But we battled.

Corey Crawford came one victory short of tying Denis DeJordys 1964 mark for consecutive triumphs by a Blackhawks rookie goaltender (8). Still, Crawford deserved a big chunk of credit for the game getting to overtime in the first place. Crawford stopped 28 of 30, including some big ones at critical times. His stick save on a late first-period Sharks shot kept the game tied 1-1.

That couldve been his best game. Hes the reason we got a point, Quenneville said. He had two or three saves that looked like they were empty netters. His anticipation is there. He was sharp, quick and big. He was definitely a factor in this one.

Hendry scores

Jordan Hendry, who played in his first game since Nov. 7, scored his first goal of the season on Saturday night. Hendry played just over eight minutes, tallying three shots on goal and a plus-1 rating.

Hendry tried to get that elusive second goal a few times.

I havent scored two goals in a game for a long time, he said. I thought maybe if it rained it could pour.

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

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.