Blackhawks

Campoli's first goal is a winner; Sharp injured

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Campoli's first goal is a winner; Sharp injured

Sunday, March 18, 2011
Posted 9:32 p.m. Updated 10:43 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. Chris Campoli had been looking for his first goal with the Chicago Blackhawks since he was traded to them at the deadline.

He couldnt have picked a better time to convert.

Campoli scored the game-winner on a power play late in the third period as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 at Jobing.com Arena on Sunday night. The victory put the Blackhawks back into fifth place in the Western Conference.

But it came at a cost. Patrick Sharp went down with an apparent left knee injury when Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla collided with him with 1:35 left in the first period. Sharp did not return, and coach Joel Quenneville said he would be re-evaluated on Monday.

Keith: No replacing Sharp

We dont now for sure, Quenneville said of how long Sharp could be out. Weve definitely lost a couple guys in the last stretch. Hopefully (Brian Campbell) can come back and well see about Sharpy.

Corey Crawford stopped 22 of 23 shots, including two critical ones in the closing minutes, to preserve the regulation victory.

The Blackhawks only had two power plays on the night -- their second came on a questionable-at-best holding call on Phoenix captain Shane Doan but they took advantage of both. Duncan Keith scored on the first advantage, and the Blackhawks scored on six of 10 power plays against Phoenix this season.

We know the power play and penalty kill is a big deal in the playoffs and these games here are as close as it gets to playoff-style hockey, said Jonathan Toews, who fed Campoli the pass through the crease on the winner. It was kind of a slow-motion play where all he had to do was get good wood on it and he made no mistakes. Obviously it was a huge goal for us.

For Campoli, it was also a weight off the shoulders. The defenseman, acquired from Ottawa on Feb. 28, has had some good scoring chances since arriving in Chicago. So Sundays goal was especially sweet.

Toewser saw me going, gave me a great pass and we executed it the way we do in practice. It worked out well, he said. Its huge.

Quenneville said hes had some great looks, had some great opportunities. It was a great play and a great finish. It was a nice start in the goal-scoring department for him.

The Blackhawks didnt allow the Coyotes much their lone goal was an Eric Belanger shot that hit off Nick Leddy and past Crawford.

It wasnt the prettiest win but we did what we had to do, said Keith, who was back with old partner Brent Seabrook as the game wore on Sunday. I thought we deserved to win tonight. We had a lot of chances and the good thing is we won in regulation.

The Blackhawks banded together a man down. It didnt have to be pretty. It just had to yield them two points.

I thought we had a defense-first mentality, especially after the outing (on Thursday), Campoli said. We wanted to bounce back. Good teams find a way to do that, and we did that tonight.

Sharp injured

The Blackhawks have had their share of injuries this season and may be missing another star depending on the severity of Sharps knee injury. If hes out for a bit, the Blackhawks said theyll find a way to press on.

Its just the story of the year, Toews said. Weve had a lot of guys go down. As frustrating as it is for those individuals, they always battle back and bring a lot when theyre ready to play again. Hes going to hurry back as quickly as he can. For the time being were going to have to step it up and find a way to score goals and create offense.

The Blackhawks got through the final two periods on Sunday without Sharp by juggling lines throughout.

I thought the guys did a good job of trying to fill in and step up, Keith said. When guys go down you need others to fill the void and tonight we did that.

Briefly

Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin was honored in a pregame ceremony for playing in his 1000th NHL game on Sunday night. Keith was part of the video tribute. Aucoin spent two seasons with the Blackhawks.

Forward Ben Smith was recalled from Rockford for Sundays game as a precautionary move. Smith, who found out he was being called up prior to Rockfords game on Saturday, was a healthy scratch against Phoenix. He was reassigned to Rockford immediately after the game.

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

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.

Anton Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they need

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USA TODAY

Anton Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they need

Anton Forsberg had just finished an extended morning skate Wednesday morning in St. Louis. The backup goaltender had played in one regular-season game for the Blackhawks to that point, so getting in extra work to stay sharp was helpful.

“I try to keep my focus in practice and work extra every day, get a few extra shots in practice with the extra guys who are out there, work with Jimmy and try to keep my game shape,” Forsberg said, referring to Blackhawks goaltending coach Jimmy Waite.

Whatever Forsberg’s working on in practice and skates seems to be working, because in two games with the Blackhawks he’s looked sharp. Forsberg probably deserved a victory on Thursday night when he stopped 40 shots in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers. It’s the backup life to wait and see when that next start will come, but Forsberg has been ready.

“For sure I felt more comfortable today, more used to the speed,” he said following Thursday’s game. “I felt I read the game better, felt I had more time moving around. It’s tough, again, to lose in overtime. Obviously I wanted to win and it’s frustrating.”

Frustrating for sure, but Forsberg is giving the Blackhawks exactly what they want and need: a dependable backup that gives them a chance to win. The two goals Forsberg gave up on Thursday weren’t softies, either — Patrick Maroon’s goal off a ridiculous Connor McDavid pass and Mark Letestu’s over game-winner that deflected off Brent Seabrook’s stick.

“He kept us in a tight game like he did in Toronto, got us to overtime. I kind of feel bad we didn’t get him a win in either of those,” Ryan Hartman said. “He played well both of those games. It’s nice to have a guy on the back end like that.”

Forsberg has blended in well with the Blackhawks. It helps that he already knew two of them, Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov, his former teammates in Columbus. He and Corey Crawford already have a good rapport. Same goes for he and Waite, and Forsberg has soaked up any information they’ve given him.

“I feel like both him and Corey teach me a lot. We talk about different situations, especially all the reads,” Forsberg said. “I get to know how (Crawford) thinks the game. He’s been around a long time and has been doing well, so it’s interesting every day to hear what he has to say. Even Jimmy’s been around same thing there, discussing my game, what we want to improve, what we want to do different, what to keep the same and go from there.”

The extra work in practices and skates appears to be working as Forsberg has done a lot right in just his first two games, which were 10 days apart. The Blackhawks have had a good run of backup goaltenders; two games is a small sample size but Forsberg could be the latest reliable backup.