Blackhawks 'used frustration the right way' to top Coyotes in OT


Blackhawks 'used frustration the right way' to top Coyotes in OT

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Marian Hossa wasn’t happy that he had a goal taken away from him. But he and the Blackhawks were just fine with the end result.

Hossa had one goal disallowed but did score one later, and Jonathan Toews scored two, including his fifth overtime goal of the season, in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night. The Blackhawks have won two in a row out of the All-Star break and remain atop the Central Division with 74 points. The Dallas Stars, who the Blackhawks face on Saturday, are second with 71 points.

Patrick Kane scored his 31st goal, setting a new career-high for a season. Hossa’s goal that did count was the 495th of his career. Michal Rozsival scored his first of the season and Artemi Panarin finished with two assists.

It was a game that featured everything: a goal that was originally a goal before it became a disallowed goal, a short-handed goal, two power-play goals and a bunch of penalties. And of course, there was another overtime winner for Toews.

As happy as the Blackhawks were at the end, however, they were fuming early. Hossa appeared to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the first period but the Coyotes challenged for goaltender interference, and won. In replays it looked like Coyotes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck pushed Hossa into Louis Domingue. But the NHL’s Situation Room, in a release, said Hossa interfered with Domingue, wiping way the goal. The release stated:

According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”

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Hossa still wasn’t happy about the ruling after the game.

“First of all we are happy we won this crazy game. Obviously, it was pretty fun to watch, I guess, from upstairs,” Hossa said. “Disappointing from the first goal, I couldn’t believe it. Obviously, you know, I thought that was the first joke. I tried to battle in front of the net and I don’t have any intention to touch the goalie. I just try to battle through two guys and put the puck in the net. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the playoffs, if there’s going to be calls after calls after calls. But I don’t think it’s good for the league.”

Coach Joel Quenneville, who was visibly livid at the time of the call, was a lot calmer with the end result.

“We had a real good response in that second period. I didn’t mind the first as well. Heck of a hockey game, back and forth,” he said. “[The Coyotes] were desperate coming off a tough game. You knew they were going to be ready and they responded. Hard-working game for both teams; it was incredibly competitive and fun to be a part of. I think the fans enjoyed it.”

As frustrated as Hossa was early, that ire led to him having arguably his best game of the season. The disallowd goal didn’t mean Hossa shied away from the net, and that’s how he got the one that counted in the second period.

“That was the Hoss we know very well making those single-handed efforts and taking the puck to the net the way he did in the second period,” Toews said. “It was nice to see him get one back there. I think he was deserving to have that first one. Unfortunately it went against him but scored another big one for us in the second there.”

And then in overtime it was Toews, who’s making a habit of scoring winners in those extra few minutes.

“I don’t know, just getting opportunities and if you get a few early in the season you feel confident in that situation,” he said. “I think I had three, maybe four shifts in overtime; so I think when you get that kind of ice time, the play is going back and forth, somebody is going to score. It’s nice that I’ve been able to cash in those situations a little bit.”

The Blackhawks weren’t thrilled at how this one started. They were fine with the finish.

“I think in some cases you just have to realize some calls are going to go against you whether you agree with it or not,” Toews said. “I guess we used the frustration the right way.”

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start


Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

Jean-Francois Berube got his first start of the season on Friday night, and it couldn't have gone any better.

The 26-year-old goaltender stopped 42 of 43 shots, a career-high for him in saves, in the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

Since Corey Crawford went down with a head injury last December, the Blackhawks have been searching for consistency in the crease. 

The pair of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass — who was assigned to Rockford on Feb. 15 and replaced with Berube — have had their ups and downs since then. With the Blackhawks out of the playoff picture, Berube had an opportunity showcase his skills, and he didn't disappoint.

"We were very happy with him," said coach Joel Quenneville. "I thought he did a great job. He was comfortable. I thought he was very patient in his net. Absorbing a lot of pucks with people in front of him was good. Closed some gaps and got … of the top of the paint. Rebound control was effective. Nice response from a long absence."

Berube's last — and only — appearance with the Blackhawks prior to Friday's game came on Dec. 6, relieving Forsberg in a game against the Washington Capitals. He recorded 12 saves of 14 shots. 

When Crawford got injured, Berube was the primary candidate to become the team's backup goaltender. The only problem? He was injured too, so the Blackhawks promoted Glass.

"I didn't want to sit and think about it," Berube said of his injury. "At the same time, it was great for Glasser. He was one of those guys that probably deserved it earlier in his career and he finally got his chance. Sometimes you need a guy to go down to have your chance. So I was mostly happy for him.

On Friday night, he got his chance.

"You always want to have a good impression for your first game," Berube said. "I know what I can do at this level, so it was just a matter of getting the opportunity to play and showing people what I can do."

Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. Artem Anisimov scored an empty-netter.

"It's a lot more fun coming to the rink when you're winning, enjoying each other, playing well as a team," Schmaltz said of the Blackhawks' win, which have now won three of their last four games. "Hopefully we can keep that good energy and bring it to the rink every day, and build off of that.

"You never know where this team can go, a lot of great players, lots of guys that have had a lot of success. Hopefully we can continue to put together solid efforts."