Quenneville on Hawks' win, Mayers/Torres fight
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Chicago Blackhawks kept downplaying the return of Raffi.
It was about winning the game, they said. That was the best revenge against the Phoenix Coyotes and forward Raffi Torres, who injured Marian Hossa last spring. So instead of getting in the Coyotes’ faces, the Blackhawks just got the puck in their net.
Patrick Kane scored twice and Patrick Sharp had three assists as the Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 6-2 at Jobing.com Arena on Thursday night. The Blackhawks are now 9-0-2 this season and 3-0-2 on this road trip, which wraps up Sunday in Nashville.
It was the first time Torres faced the Blackhawks since his concussion-inducing hit on Marian Hossa last April. But the Blackhawks weren’t focused on engaging fists as much as they were their offensive firepower. And they had plenty of the latter.
Jamal Mayers was on good-teammate duty early in the first period, fighting Torres to a draw.
“I realize what my job is at this point,” he said. “It still doesn’t excuse what happened, but I give (Torres) credit: he was willing to go.”
Kane said that the fight “gave me chills. He pumped up everyone on the bench and got everyone going.” Indeed, after that, the Blackhawks’ offense took over, helped in part by the Coyotes’ penchant for penalties. Two of the Blackhawks’ goals came on 5-on-3 power plays, and both of those were via Kane.
Dave Bolland, Jonathan Toews, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell also scored for the Blackhawks, who sent goaltender Mike Smith packing on Bickell’s goal with 4:52 remaining in the second period. Smith allowed six goals on 22 shots. Defenseman Nick Leddy took a puck to the face in the waning minutes on Thursday. His condition is unknown.
“We got a great start,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Whether it was (Mayers’ fight with Torres), the energy, the guys played the right way. We responded to a poor start in San Jose, and scoring first certainly helped us. It was a great effort across the board and I’m pleased with the contributions of each guy.”
Kane was stellar once again. His two goals were power-play beauties and he also had a spin-o-rama – minus the -rama – pass to set up Bolland’s goal. And as close as Sharp was to scoring a goal – a post here or there, another off a goaltender’s glove – he was spot on with his passes.
“I can say over the past couple years -- it kills me to say it – but (Sharp’s) gotten to be a better passer as time goes on. You could see on the fourth goal; he fed me a beautiful one. All I did was tap it in,” said Kane with a smile, adding the start was pivotal. “It was just a fun period of hockey. Everyone was excited with how we played, especially after our last two starts. We have a little bit left on the road trip, so hopefully we can finish that strong, too.”
The Blackhawks have done a lot right on this road trip. They also handled the Torres-Hossa fallout as best they could and as quickly as possible on Thursday night. The fisticuffs were brief. The firepower was nonstop.
“We’ve been consistent in our games and getting a lot of contributions from a lot of guys,” Quennneville said. “It seems like chemistry and the mood of the room is as good as you can get. It’s been reflected in our play.”