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.

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews set up the game-winning goal to Brad Marchand as Team Canada rallied back to beat Europe, 2-1, to complete the two-game sweep in the final at the World Cup of Hockey.

After Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a tip-in on the power play late in the third period, Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping, giving Europe a power play for a chance to respond.

But midway through the man advantage, the Blackhawks captain retrieved the puck and carried it into Europe territory before dropping it off to Marchand, who snapped home the shorthanded game-winner with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

It was the second goal in a span of 2:09, helping Canada capture their second straight World Cup title (2004).

Sidney Crosby was named MVP of the tournament after scoring four goals and seven assists in six games. 

Toews was fourth among all players in the tournament with five points (three goals and two assists).

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson looked around the Blackhawks’ room at where fellow defensemen stalls would probably be as the season approached.

“You have Brian (Campbell) back, (Michal) Kempny here, obviously and all the other guys,” Gustafsson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like it.”

The Blackhawks’ biggest Achilles heel last season was defense, especially after Trevor Daley was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That opened the door for young players, including Gustafsson, to get bigger opportunities. This year the defense should be stronger with Campbell’s return. So for guys like Gustafsson, cracking this lineup just got that much tougher.

During the summer, assistant coach Mike Kitchen talked potential pairings as Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell-Brent Seabrook, Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk. As of now, the team is expecting Keith to be ready for the season opener. Keith has been participating in a practice a day but whether or not he plays in any preseason games is uncertain right now.

If it starts out that way, Gustafsson would be on the outside looking in.

But first things first: Gustafsson is focused on building off experience gained last season — he played 41 games, recording 14 assists — and cleaning up a few errors committed in training camp practices.

“You know all the guys on the team, you know how they want to play over here and in the NHL. Just go out and show them. I didn’t do that [Saturday] but this was the first game,” Gustafsson said. “I felt good with the puck but I have to play more defense in my own zone. Just a couple of small things I have to be better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Nothing comes easy when you’re trying to make an NHL roster but it got that much tougher for a young defenseman with the Blackhawks this season. Hey, that’s the way it is, and players know it.

“Of course it’ll be tougher,” Gustafsson said. “It won’t be easy to take a spot. You just have to go out there, do your best and see what happens.”

BRIEFLY

- Patrick Kane could play in the Blackhawks’ game against St. Louis on Saturday. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said, “don’t be surprised to see 88 politicking to get in the lineup. Pretty good chance we’ll see him on Saturday."

- The Blackhawks were off on Thursday. Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger and Hjalmarsson were expected to join the team at Friday’s practice

- Alexandre Fortin, who signed a three-year contract on Sunday, played 12 1/2 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That included about two minutes of power-play time. Dineen wouldn’t mind seeing Fortin in another game. “He showed himself well all camp and I think [Wednesday] we saw some good spurts out there, and we’ll find that consistency in a young player as we move forward.”