'Worst period of season' ends Hawks' streak

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'Worst period of season' ends Hawks' streak

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Posted: 9:09 p.m. Updated: 9:57 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

SUNRISE, Fla. Marian Hossa didnt mince words.

WATCH: Hossa brutally honest

That was our worst period of the season, said Hossa, referring to the Chicago Blackhawks first 20 minutes against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

It was hard to argue with him. And for the Blackhawks, that lousy start was too much from which to recover.

Hossa and Patrick Kane scored in the second period, but it wasnt enough to offset the Blackhawks horrible start en route to a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who remain fourth in the Western Conference.

It was only the second time since Feb. 7 (loss to Calgary) that the Blackhawks didnt pick up at least a point in a game.

After so many strong games the Blackhawks came out flat and sloppy on Tuesday. The Panthers, meanwhile, were flying, jumping on loose pucks and rebounds and took a 3-0 lead after the first period. David Booth and Clay Wilson scored for the Panthers, as did Marty Reasoner, with just seven seconds left in the first period.

It was all about the first period and the start of the game. They outworked us and we had lazy habits, coach Joel Quenneville said. All three goals were preventable.

Corey Crawford was pulled after that first period. It was the first time this season Crawford, who allowed all three goals on eight shots, has been yanked early. Quenneville said it was more to wake the Blackhawks up than anything. Crawford understood.

I think it was the right move, he said. It was just one of those nights it wasnt going our way.

The Blackhawks did respond in the second period, outshooting the Panthers 15-4 and putting two on the board. Kane scored his 22nd of the season and Hossa added his 19th. But despite another 14 shots in the third, the Blackhawks couldnt get another past Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 37 of 39 on the night.

Marty Turco, who came in to relieve Crawford, said it was a lesson learned.

I saw our game at a different level (the last two periods), he said. Hopefully we realize we can play that way for 60 minutes the rest of the year. Good things happen when that type of effort is there.

The Blackhawks are right back at it Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first 20 minutes was certainly forgettable. Its the final 40 the Blackhawks want to take into Tampa.

We played well the last two but we lost the game, Hossa said. You cant take time off. We just have to play 60 minutes.

Blackhawks disrespectful?

Calgary Flames veteran Brendan Morrison is still sidelined from a knee injury he sustained against the Blackhawks last week. The center was also disappointed in taunts some Blackhawks allegedly said to him while he was laboring to get off the ice during that game.
Calgary Flames center Brendan Morrison claims he was disrespected by the Blackhawks while skating off the ice with a knee injury during their game on March 2. "I don't think it's very professional," he said. "But they'll learn." (AP)
What was a little disappointing was coming off and guys from the Chicago bench being a little disrespectful. That was uncalled for, Morrison told the Calgary media on Tuesday. I dont know if they understood what was gong on, but some young guys on their team were standing up and yelling. I dont think its very professional. But theyll learn.

State meeting

The Blackhawks will host the 2011 Illinois State High School Hockey Championships at the United Center on Sunday, when 09 champion New Trier will take on 07 and 08 champs Glenbrook North. The game will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Chicago at 6:05 p.m. Judd Sirott, Steve Konroyd and Chris Boden will have the call.

Tickets for the day-long event are now on sale. The Chicago fire and police departments will play at 10 a.m. which requires a separate ticket followed by the Illinois Girls State championship at 1 p.m. and a skills competition at 3:30 p.m. This is the 24th year that the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois has hosted the state championship at United CenterChicago Stadium.

Tickets, which include parking, are available for 5. To purchase tickets or to get more information, go to chicagoblackhawks.com or call 312-455-7000.

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

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers have the latest on Joel Quenneville's group in this edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, sponsored by Chicagoland NW Indiana Honda dealers.

The Blackhawks are once again taking care of business, going 3-0-1 with their captain Jonathan Toews on the sideline. They're also 6-2-2 against the East this year, and they'll get another chance to add to that record when they take on the Flyers this week.

Here's what our Blackhawks Postgame Live crew had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Aehad.

Five Things from Blackhawks-Devils: From a sluggish start to a Marian Hossa finish

Five Things from Blackhawks-Devils: From a sluggish start to a Marian Hossa finish

Getting points any way possible: that’s pretty much any team’s mantra at any point of a season but when missing a top player, it’s even more so. The Blackhawks are in that boat right now, trying to gather as may points as they can while Jonathan Toews heals from his upper-body injury.

For the fourth consecutive game, the Blackhawks found a way. Yes, that start was dismal. We’ll get to that in a second. But the end result was a positive again as the Blackhawks beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in overtime. So before we call it a night, here are Five Things to take away from the Blackhawks’ victory.

1. Another awful start. Yeah, let’s just get this one out of the way. This was actually to a new level of lousy compared to the Blackhawks’ previous bad starts. For the first few minutes the Blackhawks couldn’t even get the puck to the red line. Credit the Devils for some of that – they were playing the type of road period that’s necessary – but the Blackhawks couldn’t get out of their own way. It was a surprise they finished the first 20 minutes down by just one goal. Well, actually not so much when you consider what Corey Crawford’s done this season, and did again on Thursday.

2. The Kruger line strikes again. While the top two lines struggle to find offense, the Dennis Rasmussen-Kruger-Richard Panik line found it again. This time it was Kruger, with a slick snipe that beat Cory Schneider and tied the game 1-1 just 1:02 into the second period. Rasmussen had his second assist in as many nights; this pass wasn’t the lengthy one he threw Panik on Tuesday, but was just as effective. And for Kruger, getting his second of the season was pleasant. “You never know what role you're going to play and if you're healthy and stuff like that, you want to score as many as you can. But it feels nice to chip in,” Kruger said.

3. Shooting isn’t so bad. From the second period on, the Blackhawks were buying more into the shoot-whenever-you-can mentality. It worked. First it was Anisimov shooting and then following his own shot for a goal. Hjalmarsson had a quick shot off a loose puck and also scored. The Blackhawks, who had just nine shots in the first period, had 15 in the second. They also had three goals. Who woulda thunk it?

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

4. Power play progress? Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t mind it, despite it going 0-for-4 against the Devils. The Blackhawks have just one power-play goal since Nov. 19 but Quenneville was encouraged by the zone time the Blackhawks got on Thursday night. That was evident on their fourth one, although they didn’t get a shot on it. Still, Quenneville said, “if we get that zone time, we’ll find a way to hit the back of the net.”

5. Marian Hossa finishes. Again. We shouldn’t be shocked anymore, should we? Hossa sliced through the middle and just tried to shoot through bodies. It worked, as he netted his fourth game-winning goal of the season. Niklas Hjalmarsson summed up Hossa best: “He seems to have found the fountain of youth. He’s looking better and stronger than ever. Whatever he’s doing, I’m just going to follow and do the same thing.”