Viktory: Stalberg's shootout winner lifts Hawks

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Viktory: Stalberg's shootout winner lifts Hawks

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted 8:48 p.m. Updated 9:53 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville asked Viktor Stalberg about getting into a shootout a few weeks ago.

WATCH: Stalberg happily in shootout lineups

On Friday night Quenneville wasnt asking as much as telling Stalberg he was in the top three. And for the second time in as many attempts this season, Stalberg came through.

Bryan Bickell scored late in regulation to tie it and Stalberg had the shootout winner as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 at Nationwide Arena. The victory kept the Blackhawks eighth in the Western Conference; Calgary, a 3-2 winner in St. Louis, remained three points behind them.

Stalbergs only other shootout was Nov. 6 in Atlanta, another game-winner. But hes been good at it during Blackhawks practices and skates, so he got another chance on Friday.

So far so good I guess, Stalberg said of his 1.000 shootout percentage. I do a lot in practice and try to score as much as I can there. (Quenneville) asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go if we had the chance. We havent had any shootouts since he asked me. But that was a big point. At least I got a chance to win it.

The Blackhawks took advantage of things early in this one. Patrick Kane scored on a 2-on-1 sprung by Chris Campoli, and Brent Seabrook scorched one 15 seconds into the Blackhawks first power play for a 2-0 lead.

But then the Blackhawks got sloppy, with turnovers in the first and five penalties in the second period. The Blue Jackets, playing without Rick Nash and eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday, looked more like the team playing for something.

We killed for half the (second) period. And a lot of them were stupid penalties, too. We need to jeep the sticks on the ice and use our legs to backcheck and forecheck, defenseman Brian Campbell said. We were a little sloppy. But we got the win which is what we needed.

Still, it was looking unlikely for a while. The Blue Jackets were pushing the pace and tied it late in the second period on Derick Brassards 5-on-3 goal. Columbus then took a 3-2 lead about 13 minutes into the third, with Sami Pahlsson deflecting Anton Stralmans shot.

But just 95 seconds later Bickells knuckle-ball shot went under Mathieu Garons arm to tie it.

We gave up that 5 on 3 which was tough to swallow, Seabrook said. We just needed to be more disciplined, keep our sticks down and work harder. Thats what we did in the third period and we got the result that we wanted.
Bryan Bickell's goal with 5:03 remaining guaranteed at least one point for the Blackhawks. The goal was No. 17 this season for Bickell, but first since March 5 at Toronto. (AP)
The Blackhawks didnt get their desired game on Friday night. They did, however, get the desired result.

We came out of that (second) period very fortunate to be even, Quenneville said. Well take what we can get right now. It turned out to be a huge win for us.

Johnson a Masterton candidate

Ryan Johnson came back from two broken feet to become a solid faceoff-winning and shot-blocking center for the Blackhawks. For that reason, Johnson was nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Chicago media. Johnson spent all offseason and part of the fall coming back from his foot injuries; he broke each on blocked shots. He made his Blackhawks debut in mid-December.

Theres nothing more rewarding than getting back to where you want to be (after injuries). I never thought about giving up, Johnson said. I needed a lot of the summer to get back. Patience is a hard trait to have when youre used to that point of the summer gearing up and getting back on the ice.

Johnson bided his time, got healthy and then, when the time came, answered the Blackhawks call. Hes been effective for them in several categories including faceoffs, where he won 11 of 15 against Columbus on Friday.

I wanted to be patient and let teams figure out what they knew they had or didnt have and the phone eventually started ringing, he said. I just wanted to put myself in the best situation to win a championship. That was here.

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

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.
 

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

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AP

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

PITTSBURGH – There are certain trends through which the Blackhawks tend to go sometimes. They can be so-so against teams on the bubble or out of the postseason. But face a playoff-bound team and the Blackhawks usually come with a top-notch game.

Exhibit A on that came on Wednesday.

Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane each had two-point nights, and Marian Hossa scored his 25th of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Penguins 5-1 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks snapped a three-game winless streak and now have a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the West.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots. Richard Panik scored his 22nd goal of the season. Bryan Rust had the Penguins' lone goal at 5:46 of the third.

The Penguins, much like the Blackhawks, entered this one with 103 points. The Penguins were without several injured players, including Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Trevor Daley. Still, it's the Penguins, and you can never take them lightly.

[Buy Blackhawks tickets right here]

The Blackhawks got the early lead, then really pounced in the final five-plus minutes of the first period. The Blackhawks got stellar set-up passes from Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz and finishes to accompany them. Two of their goals (Marcus Kruger and Hossa) came in the final minute of the first period for that 4-0 lead.

The Penguins had the first six shots of the third but the Blackhawks would score on their first of the period when Tanner Kero, taking the turnover from Justin Schultz, finished on a breakaway.