Stalberg's third-period goals secure Hawks win

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Stalberg's third-period goals secure Hawks win

The Blackhawks were flirting with their second consecutive loss, something they stressed avoiding after Fridays dismal 3-0 loss in Carolina.

But with two quick tallies, Viktor Stalberg ended any worries about that.

Stalberg scored twice in a span of a minute, 58 seconds and Ray Emery got his second victory of the season in the Blackhawks 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

It was an interesting game for the Blackhawks, who had lost momentum and their one-goal lead by the end of the second period. Worse, the power play came up empty in bizarre ways the Hawks had three disallowed goals and two came on the power play.

But a big third period was the salve for all of that. And Stalberg was big there. His first goal came when Nick Leddy poke-checked a puck past a Jackets defender and to Stalberg, who worked to the front to beat Blue Jackets goalie Allen York. Less than two minutes later, Stalberg was alone on Yorks left side, punching in an Andrew Brunette attempted wraparound.

That was a great play by Stally there. He made a great move, took it to the net. His speed is always effective, coach Joel Quenneville said. We were ordinary in the second period we lost the momentum when they tied it up. We were better in the third.

Stalberg said the Blackhawks just kept pushing.

I think we played all right the first 40 minutes and gave up some goals we dont want to give up, but we found ways to come back, Stalberg said. The biggest thing is taking two points and not losing two in a row. Thats what we stressed."

Dave Bolland scored his second short-handed goal of the season. Marcus Kruger scored his first NHL career goal and Michael Frolik added an empty-netter. Leddy had two assists.

Emery, meanwhile, got stronger as the game continued. He stopped 27 of 29 overall for his second victory in as many starts.

They were buzzing at the start of the game, too. They came with some speed and just fired pucks through legs and stuff, Emery said of the Blue Jackets. I think we did a good job sorting plays out as the game went on and really took control.

Jonathan Toews said Emery has shown that mental focus and when it is his chance, even if it takes a few shots early we want to clear those pucks and make things easy on him. It was a solid game by him.

The Blackhawks are still collecting a good chunk of points, as they sit 6-2-2 through their first 10 games. They werent clicking through 40 minutes on Saturday, but they did save their best for the final 20.

I think we have more swagger this year. Were feeling were going to get out there and get that goal, Stalberg said of third periods. Last year we found ways to give them up. This year were finding ways to get go-ahead goals.

No goal

It was certainly a rarity, if not a first, as there were four disallowed goals in Saturdays game. The Blackhawks had three of them, two on the power play: Patrick Kanes was nullified because his stick was too high, Patrick Sharps was nixed by a high sticking penalty on Bryan Bickell and Bollands was waived off because he kicked it in the net.

Obviously thats something we dont see every day, Stalberg said. (Brunettes) been in the league a long time and he said thats the most hes seen in a long time.

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

PITTSBURGH – Tanner Kero's been thrown into a lot of different situations in his time with the Blackhawks, be it third- or fourth-line center or penalty kill.

But with Artem Anisimov out, the second-line center spot has become new top-line, left-wing spot: The Blackhawks will keep trying guys out until they find one that works. Kero's the latest to get that opportunity, and since it worked well on Monday, he'll be there again on Wednesday.

Kero will center Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane again when the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The line had a good start to Monday's game against the Lightning in Tampa, scoring the team's first two goals — Kero assisted on Panarin's opener.

Coach Joel Quenneville liked Kero's first go-around there.

"Defensively he's in a good spot — he's usually in a reliable spot in his own end — he made a couple of nice plays offensively and didn't change his game too much," Quenneville said. "It's not easy playing with guys at that next level. It's certainly a great challenge and a great opportunity, so I thought he did a great job, took advantage of it. We'll see how he does going forward but we'll keep him in there for [Wednesday's] game and that gives us some more options."

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Learning on the fly can be part of a rookie season, especially when injuries arise. Jonathan Toews said Kero's handled everything well this season.

"Come to think of it, it's one of those little things that maybe goes over my head but he's definitely one of those versatile players who's as consistent as ever," Toews said. "He has, for his age, an incredible level of maturity and he carries that with him wherever he goes. You're seeing offensive improvement, too. He was making some good plays with Bread Man and Kaner. He's showing he can do it all and I think his work ethic and attitude's a source of that success."

Earlier this season Kero was with guys like Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza. They were all familiar with each other from their Rockford days, and that showed. Playing with two guys you don't know so well? It's a bit of a challenge, and one the three talk out. But ultimately, Kero said you have to rely on your instincts. 

"You go over things before the game and on the bench, get a feel for what you might want to do. But then you just have to play hockey," Kero said. "You have to trust your game, make plays. You know they're going to make plays with the puck so you try to use your speed and get open and try to go to the net, create space for them and a little traffic in front and try to capitalize on opportunities."

Anisimov will be out another 1-2 weeks. Asked if Anisimov has started skating back in Chicago yet, Quenneville said, "I don't think so but I'm not positive. But he's progressing." Filling Anisimov's skates isn't easy, as evidenced by the Blackhawks' search for his temporary replacement. Kero is the third guy to get that shot, and he took advantage of his first showing.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity to play with two great players," Kero said. "You just try to do everything you can and do the little things right."

Briefly

- Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith didn't practice on Tuesday but both are expected to play against the Penguins.

- Corey Crawford gets the start against Pittsburgh.

- Hartman, scratched after a rough game against the Florida Panthers, is probably back in against the Penguins.