'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.

Johnny Oduya feeling better, more up to speed with Blackhawks

Johnny Oduya feeling better, more up to speed with Blackhawks

Perhaps the best thing about the Johnny Oduya trade back to the Blackhawks, for both parties involved, was that Oduya wasn't needed immediately.

It's not that the Blackhawks didn't want the veteran defenseman, who helped them win Cups in 2013 and 2015, back in the lineup as soon as possible. Oduya was coming off an ankle injury, one he re-aggravated and missed about a month when he was with the Dallas Stars. He needed time to fully heal and with the Blackhawks in good shape in the standings and with solid depth at defense, he could.

Now with the playoffs right around the corner, Oduya is feeling more like himself.

Outside of missing two games that were the second halves of back-to-backs, Oduya has been playing steadily since March 9. Oduya's minutes have ranged from around 16 to 21 in games. He said he's now 100 percent healthy from his injury and he's feeling the difference on the ice.

"It makes a big difference," Oduya said on Thursday, prior to facing the Stars for the first time since his trade back to Chicago. "I mean, obviously sometimes you get more or less lucky, depending on what you get and the style of play and what you do or not. Skating is a part of my game I try to use as much as possible to get in good position and try to take away time from the opposition as much as possible.

"Even with battling and things like that, of course it's nice to feel more confident," Oduya added. "In any situation, you're in you want to feel confident on the ice."

The Blackhawks have seen that confidence in previous postseason runs and are looking to see it again in Oduya. Coach Joel Quenneville considers Oduya, "Mr. Reliability."

"You look back at what he delivered for us, not just the regular season, but he's been solid and reliable in the playoffs. He's assumed some important matchups and important minutes," Quenneville said. "Last year, we didn't have him on the back end and watching him this year, it was the perfect fit him coming back."

[Buy Blackhawks tickets right here]

The Blackhawks' defensive group hasn't changed much since Oduya's first stint here. The system probably hasn't been altered much, either. Still, Oduya's not taking anything for granted and is trying to get back on the same page quickly.

"Same as the last time I came into a great hockey team and I really just want to get up to speed and up to date as quickly as possible," Oduya said. "Little things that may have changed. I want to fit in as well as I can. That's the idea anyone has coming in late in the year. The guys here make it pretty easy; the coaching staff is familiar with the way I play and helps speed up things a little more."

The Blackhawks are trying to be their best heading into the postseason. So is Oduya. He needed a little extra time to get back to health and he may still need a little time to get back to speed, but he's just about there. 

"I feel pretty good. Of course it's a lot easier when you have guys around you you've seen before, a coaching staff," Oduya said. "It's a work in progress, anyway. I want to be better, I want to evolve with the team and want us to be better, too. It's a work in progress."

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.