Sizzling Toews, Hawks top Flames for six straight

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Sizzling Toews, Hawks top Flames for six straight

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Posted 10:34 p.m. Updated 11:51 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The mantra had been there throughout the season: the Chicago Blackhawks needed a winning streak, a lengthy, point-producing, surge-up-the-standings streak.

They couldnt get it for a long time, but theyre getting it now.

Jonathan Toews scored twice and Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists, his first points in a Blackhawks uniform, as the Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 6-4 at the United Center on Wednesday night.

WATCH: Toews beaming with confidence

That Blackhawks, who were struggling and in 11th place not so long ago, have now won six straight and jumped to fourth in the Western Conference.

Weve been saying all year that we needed to put something like this together to put ourselves in the spot we want to be out. Just about every team in the conference around us has had that kind of roll, coach Joel Quenneville said. What we just did were happy about, but its what were going to do moving forward thats going to determine what we have to do.

Toews, who was the NHLs No. 1 star for February, is now on a seven-game points streak. Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford got the victory in net.

Once again, the Blackhawks strong start came from their stellar top line. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Toews worked a pretty tic-tac-toe passing effort, with Toews finishing for a 1-0 lead. Frolik added his goal, his first in 32 games, at the end of the period.

Yeah, I finally got the monkey off my back, said Frolik. We won and I helped the team do that. And I like that.

If there was any negative it was the Blackhawks third period. For the second consecutive game a comfortable three-goal lead turned into a shaky one-goal one for a while. The Blackhawks were up 4-1 heading into the third when the Flames responded, getting to within one twice before Hossa sealed it with an empty-net goal with 39 seconds remaining.

Well take wins how we can get them, said Sharp. Its frustrating the way the game ended but were going to have to win those tight games down the stretch. We can look at it in a negative way that in the third periods weve given up a few goals, but I like to look at it that we hang on to the lead and get the points.

The Blackhawks are rolling now. Theyve gone from the outside of the standings to right in the middle of them. Theyve done it by not getting too far ahead of themselves, just focusing on the next game on the docket.

Rinse and repeat.
Michael Frolik and Marian Hossa celebrate Hossa's empty-net goal. Frolik recorded his first points as a Blackhawk with a goal and two assists. The goal was his first since Dec. 17 when he was with the Florida Panthers (US PRESSWIRE)
The standings are so tight right now, these two points make a huge difference, Toews said. Every win that we have lately weve been able to put it behind us and focus on the next game. Thats what were going to do this week and focus on Friday now.

Campolis debut

Defenseman Chris Campoli played nearly 17 minutes in his Blackhawks debut, finishing with two shots on goal and three hits. Campoli, who was paired with Brian Campbell, also played some on the power play and penalty kill.

I liked him, Quenneville said. He was very active off the back end, made a lot of direct plays and was patient. I think that pair could have the puck a lot, be it off the point in the offensive zone or forechecking pressure in our own end. Hell get more comfortable in our system but it was a good first game.

Ring for HOF

Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay and Blackhawks president John McDonough will add a 2010 Stanley Cup ring to the special Cup display at the Hockey Hall of Fame later this month. The ring, donated by the Blackhawks, will be displayed next to the first Stanley Cup ring (1893).

Briefly

Ryan Johnson won 11 of 12 faceoffs for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Fernando Pisani and John Scott were scratches against the Flames.

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

Marcus Kruger activated off IR ahead of Blackhawks-Lightning

Marcus Kruger activated off IR ahead of Blackhawks-Lightning

Dennis Rasmussen or Marcus Kruger could play Tuesday night and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Rasmussen did not skate Tuesday morning due to illness but coach Joel Quenneville said the center could still play vs. the Lightning. Quenneville said Kruger is "close" to playing — he was activated off injured reserve on Tuesday afternoon — and his status could depend on how Rasmussen feels.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks, sitting in second place in the Western Conference, are on a three-game winning streak entering Tuesday's game. The Lightning, the Blackhawks' 2015 Stanley Cup opponent, has struggled with injuries (Steven Stamkos has been out since November) and is last in the Eastern Conference. Despite the Lightning's struggles, Quenneville isn't taking the team lightly.

"Obviously they've had some health issues, significant guys missing big stretches of their year, but they still have guys out there that are skilled and it's an extremely dangerous team and a very competitive East side," Quenneville said. "I'm sure they'll be ready for tonight."

Andrei Vasilevskiy will start Tuesday night for the Lightning. Coach Jon Cooper said J.T. Brown and Jason Garrison are game-time decisions.

BLACKHAWKS VS. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com or NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Ryan Hartman-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza-Tanner Kero-Marian Hossa
Andrew Desjardins-Dennis Rasmussen-Nick Schmaltz

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Marcus Kruger (right arm), Dennis Rasmussen (ill).

Tampa Bay Lightning (projected; some are game-time decisions)

Forward lines

Ondrej Palat-Vladislav Namestnikov-Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn-Tyler Johnson-J.T. Brown
Bryan Boyle-Valtteri Filppula-Jonathan Drouin
Michael Bournival-Cedric Paquette-Gabriel Dumont

Defensive Pairs

Victor Hedman-Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison-Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn-Nikita Nesterov

Goaltender

Andrei Vasilvskiy

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Steven Stamkos (knee), Brayden Point (upper body), Ryan Callahan (lower body), Jason Garrison (illness).

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

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