Chicago Blackhawks

No rust after rest, Hawks cruise to 4th straight win

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No rust after rest, Hawks cruise to 4th straight win

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
Posted 8:34 PM Updated 9:48 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Marian Hossa hadnt played in nearly a month. Goaltender Marty Turco hadnt gotten a victory in more than one. On Sunday, they both had solid outings.

Turco stopped 26 of 27 for his first victory since Nov. 17 and Hossa had two assists in his first game since Nov. 29 as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at the United Center. Patrick Sharp scored his 19th and 20th goals this season for the Blackhawks, who won their fourth in a row.

Turco got the starting call Saturday night after Corey Crawford came down with the flu. Turco, who had struggled in the few starts hes gotten recently, was big early with 14 first-period stops. He was 2:26 away from getting his second shutout this season before Derick Brassard scored a power-play goal. Still, it was an outing Turco needed.

It was good to feel the way I did. Its been a while since Ive had this feeling, said Turco. It was a good step forward for me but huge for the team to continue what were doing at home.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Turco was big in that first period. He gave us a chance to get our feet under us.

Hossa, meanwhile, looked like he had little to no rust from that lower-body injury that sidelined him the last 10 games. While the Blackhawks looked a bit sluggish to start, Hossa came out flying. He was also strong on the penalty kill, which went 3 for 4 on Sunday night.

I felt pretty good. I did lots of skating with the assistant coaches and getting a lot of extra time on the ice, Hossa said. You need to do that, especially missing a month off. I just needed to get the game timing back.

Hossas wraparound attempt led to the Blackhawks first goal, a Tomas Kopecky rebound.

Kopy texted me before the game and said, I hope you had a good nap. Pass me the puck so I can score. Hossa said with a laugh.

Then theres Sharp, who continues to be a steady offensive presence. His first goal ended up being the game-winner, the fifth time hes had that this season. His second came 37 seconds after Dave Bolland gave the Blackhawks a 3-0 advantage.

His (first goal) was a big goal for us, coach Joel Quenneville said of Sharp. Getting the two-goal lead was big. Hes had a real good start to the season and a lot of quality and timely goals as well.

Close, but

Jack Skille nearly tallied the first penalty shot in United Center history on Sunday, but Columbus goaltender Mathieu Garon came up with the stop on his backhand attempt.

I wouldve liked to have that one back. Ill be dreaming about that later, said Skille, who thought that was his first career penalty shot in any league. That was one of the cooler experiences Ive had. I just wanted to put the puck in the back of the net and hear the horn.

Skille said he wasnt thinking about making any crazy moves on the shot.

Ill leave that to the Mighty Ducks, he said.

Its better to give

Patrick Kane talked Christmas gifts after Sunday mornings skate, specifically the ones he gave family. Kane gave his dad a Stanley Cup ring and his sisters Stanley Cup bracelets.

Once my sisters got that they were flaunting that pretty good, Kane said. For my dad, I might have ordered the ring a little tight. He said it was great but his finger was completely red. He said it was just something youve got to work on I and said, Dad, lets just get it stretched. They enjoyed it.

Kane (left ankle) said he felt good coming out of Sunday mornings skate. He said hell see how he feels after Mondays practice, but he could play Tuesday in St. Louis. Kane said hes dealing with some pain but its not bad.

Its a little bit tender but overall its definitely a lot better than where I was last week, he said. Its one of those things that feels fine when you walk on it but put it in a boot and it just feels a little bit different."

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

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 win over Blue Jackets in preseason opener

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 win over Blue Jackets in preseason opener

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Tuesday's preseason opener:

1. Anton Forsberg sharp in debut.

The former Blue Jackets netminder who was acquired by the Blackhawks in the Artemi Panarin-Brandon Saad offseason deal shined in his first game action with his new club, stopping 38 of 40 shots he faced. Many of them were quality saves, too.

He was a perfect 14-for-14 in the first period, with eight of those coming while Columbus was on the power play, which also included a 5-on-3 stretch. He stood tall and looked comfortable in net, and it's an encouraging sign for the Blackhawks who are hoping he can become a reliable backup goaltender to ease the load off Corey Crawford.

2. Cody Franson, Jan Rutta stand out on defense.

The Blackhawks brought in Franson on a professional tryout agreement, and he didn't waste any time making his presence felt. The 30-year-old defenseman recorded four of the team's nine shots in the opening frame, all of which came on the power play, and the fourth one found the back of the net to open up the scoring. He served as a solid quarterback on the man advantage, and wasn't afraid to utilize his heavy shot.

Rutta was no different. He led all skaters with 23:52 of ice time, and was rewarded with a goal in the second period after his slapshot from the point bounced off the boards, ricocheted off the back of Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo's skate and trickled into the net. The 27-year-old Czech defenseman also registered two blocked shots and had two of the club's seven takeaways.

3. Nick Schmaltz's confidence and game continues to grow.

There is a noticeable difference in Schmaltz's confidence and game this year compared to last year. He looks bigger, faster and more confident with the puck, and his strong showing at training camp translated into the first preseason game.

Serving as the first-line center, Schmaltz led all Chicago forwards with 18:03 of ice time and spent time on both the power play and penalty kill units. He showed off his wicked wrist shot with a goal in the second period to make it 4-0, and displayed his playmaking ability by recording a primary assist on Franson's goal. He was one of four Blackhawks who had multi-point efforts in the win (Franson, Tomas Jurco and Graham Knott).

4. Blackhawks finish strong in faceoff department after rough start.

The Blackhawks ranked second-to-last in faceoff win percentage last year at 47.5, and they appeared to be headed down that path again. They opened the game 0-for-8 at the dot, but ended up finishing strong by winning 37 of the next 60 draws for a win percentage of 61.7. Matthew Highmore, Vinnie Hinostroza, Graham Knott and John Mitchell led the way by combining to go 19 of 25 (76 percent) at the circle.

5. NHL cracking down on several rules.

The league has made it clear about its intentions of laying down the law regarding a few rules and it was evident Tuesday that they won't be messing around. Seventeen penalties were called in the game, including five slashing and two faceoff violations.

Those are the two areas that will be focused on closely, the former in an effort to protect the NHL's stars and the latter to ensure a fair chance for both centers. Prepare for more whistles and power plays early on.

Pat Foley provides health update on Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk

Pat Foley provides health update on Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk

Blackhawks hockey returned to CSN on Tuesday when the team visited the Columbus Blue Jackets for their 2017-18 preseason opener, but a familiar voice was missing from the booth.

That would be analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in August and will take time off while he undergoes treatment.

Pat Foley took some time to provide an update on his broadcast partner before the second period of Tuesday's game after speaking with Olczyk earlier in the day.

Check it out in the video above.