Blackhawks

Brouwer injured; Hawks stymied by Habs' Price

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Brouwer injured; Hawks stymied by Habs' Price

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Posted: 9:06 p.m. Updated: 10:52 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Blackhawks and Canadiens had just completed a late regular-season game with plenty of playoff feel. Great goaltending, great chances, great drama.

And then it ended on a call the Blackhawks didnt think was so great.
P.K. Subban scored the game-winning power-play goal in overtime after Jonathan Toews was whistled for a trip on him in the Blackhawks 2-1 loss at Bell Centre on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks got a point out of what was a classic game played by both teams, but they were frustrated that the questionable-at-best penalty led to the conclusion.

Watch: Toews frustrated with late penalty call

I dont really know what to say right now. We worked our butts off and you dont want to blame it on one little thing and say it comes down to a call but thats obviously what happened, Toews said. You can argue the call, especially when you feel there are a lot of stick penalties that dont get called against you out there. And then the games decided on something like that, its pretty damn frustrating.

Coach Joel Quenneville said I 100 percent disagreed with the call. He wasnt calling it (at first) and Jonny didnt touch his feet. Both goalies were great tonight. It was a tough way to end it.
Watch: Quenneville disagrees with overtime call

As angry as the Blackhawks were with the conclusion, they certainly did have their opportunities to win. They had 42 other shots, all of which Carey Price stopped in a fabulous performance. The Blackhawks also went 0 for 5 on their power play.

The Blackhawks gained a point and remain in eighth place in the West. Patrick Kane scored, giving him his 300th career point and changing game momentum. But the Blackhawks also lost Troy Brouwer who suffered an apparent right-shoulder injury with 13:07 remaining in regulation. Corey Crawford was stellar in his return home, stopping 33 of 35 shots.

Watch: Crawford thought calls didn't go Hawks way

We played well and we had some chances and I thought we couldve gotten some calls that we didnt. We get that one in overtime and thats a tough one to swallow, Crawford said. At least we got a point out of it. Its just tough because others are chasing us now and theyre playing well and we need every point we can get. Thats a tough point to lose.

The Blackhawks wont have much time to be angry, as they play St. Louis Wednesday night at the United Center. The Blackhawks, with 93 points, hold a two-point edge over ninth-place Dallas (91); both teams have three games remaining. Points are at a premium right now and they need all they can get.

Watch: Kane thinks Hawks have some work to do

Its tough to take because the call came so late, Kane said. But we got a point tonight. We have to look to tomorrow and try to win and move forward.
Brouwer hurt

Read: Brower leaves with shoulder injury

Brouwer suffered an apparent right shoulder injury with about 13 minutes left in regulation and did not return. Brouwer landed shoulder first around the boards and did not get up for several moments. When he did, he skated off under his own power.

Quenneville said hed have a better assessment of Brouwers status on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks are already missing two forwards in Patrick Sharp (left knee) and Dave Bolland (concussion). Sharp continues to improve and could be skating in the next day or two, Quenneville said. Meanwhile, Bolland is showing a little progress.

Briefly

Patrick Kane played just over 21 minutes and had five shots on goal. Marian Hossa logged 23 and a half minutes.

Bryan Bickell had a team-high seven shots on goal.

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

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Jamal Mayers join Pat Boyle to discuss the teams wins over the Rangers and Penguins.  Have they figured some things out and what is the identity of this team after 20 games?

Jammer weighs in on Artem Anisimov’s big week and are there enough Hawks committed to net front presence?  They also discuss the surging play of the blue liners and did the Hawks fail to send a message to Evgeni Malkin, after he kneed Corey Crawford in the head?

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

It’s an annual rite of passage if you cover or are a fan of the Blackhawks: you question the power play, because there always seems to be an issue with the power play. You wonder why every season, given the talent on this team. And again this fall the power play has sputtered.

But a funny thing happened at the end of the weekend. The Blackhawks’ power play started to look good, started to generate chances and started to score. In 10 games prior to the Blackhawks’ Nov. 12 game against New Jersey they had just three power-play goals in 40 opportunities. In their last three games (vs. the Devils, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins), they’ve tallied five goals on 13 opportunities.

So what’s been working?

“I’ll probably give you the same answer as when it wasn’t working: pucks to the net, guys in front,” Patrick Sharp said. “We have the shot mentality more so than just moving it around and getting it set up. You look at the goals we’ve scored, it’s nothing overly complicated. It’s just getting the puck to the net. Just stay with it.”

Sounds simple enough, but the stay-with-it part has probably been the toughest segment of the equation. When the Blackhawks slumped they really slumped, and their lack of confidence on the power play was as evident as their lack of scoring on it. Yes, stressing over it can have its affect; and when the Blackhawks got those two power-play goals against the Devils it seemed to be a release.

“You get one, that weight gets lifted off your chest a little bit, you can play a little loser and maybe not grip your stick as tight as when things weren’t going well,” Cody Franson said. “When you’re confident out there you’re moving the puck cleanly, things happen a little quicker for you and give you those better looks at good chances. When you’re not that confident sometimes you’re not executing as well and things were moving slower and you’re not generating too much. Confidence definitely plays a big part in it.”

So back to what’s working. The Blackhawks started becoming more active on the power play, cutting down on the passes and increasing the shots. They’ve been there for rebounds. They started feeding off the success, be it with the power play as a unit or with individual performances. Artem Anisimov has returned to being a force at the net again; of his five goals in his last three games, two are power-play goals.

“A couple of broken plays and sometimes you get some breaks. You win a faceoff and make a quick little play after a couple of great opportunities on the prior whistle there that didn’t go in. I just think shots at the net and traffic and off that, sometimes they go in,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Our entries have always been alright this year, so we’re getting zone time and let’s get some simpler looks and sometimes they go in. I think gaining confidence there, it seems like we’re having the puck more and longer and sustaining some offense off it.”

The Blackhawks have struggled more than they’ve succeeded on the power play the last few seasons. But as their overall scoring has increased again, so has their power-play production. Good timing.

“People tend to say the power play can keep you in games and the penalty kill can win you games. Our penalty kill’s been great and has given us chances in a lot of games. [Corey Crawford’s] been playing pretty well,” Franson said. “And when our power play can give us success we find ourselves in better situations to try and win games.”