Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010
By Tracey Myers
The Chicago Blackhawks arent going to worry much about style points. They dont need fancy and they dont need dazzling right now. They just need points.
So taking that team mentality in against a Los Angeles Kings squad that wasnt allowing much, the Blackhawks got just enough.
Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Fernando Pisani scored and Corey Crawford stopped 26-of-28 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-2 at the United Center on Sunday night. It was their second consecutive victory and a gritty one, as the Blackhawks were once again without three forwards -- coach Joel Quenneville was hopeful that Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg could play Wednesday vs. Nashville.
While Sundays victory may have not as been as snazzy as their triumph over Detroit on Friday, it was just as effective.
Well take it, Quenneville said. This was a tough game tonight. Two of their last three games on the road (the Kings) won by five, so we knew we had a dangerous opponent that was playing well. We did what we had to do.
The Blackhawks clogged lanes and made it harder for Kings netminder Jonathan Quick to see shots. Troy Brouwer epitomized that, getting around Quick on both Toews and Keiths goals.
Its something we preach a lot; we try to emphasize going to the net. If the goalie sees the puck were not going to score, Quenneville said. Brouw was good. I thought that line had a big night as well. You get rewarded when you go to the net and it can lead to quality goals. It doesnt have to be pretty.
Toews laser gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead midway through the first. Kyle Clifford scored early in the second period to tie it for the Kings, but Keith answered just 25 seconds later to put the Blackhawks up 2-1 and stall Los Angeles momentum.
Anytime you can get a goal right back like that its big for your team, said Toews, who also assisted on Keiths goal. I think one way or another, were going to find a way tonight, whether we had a lead early on or not. We knew the situation we were in.
Pisanis goal proved to be the game-winner. Patrick Sharp had two assists. Crawford came up big on several Kings shots en route to his second consecutive victory. The Blackhawks helped him out, too, blocking 22 shots Brent Seabrook had a team-high five blocks.
When you limit their quality chances, its going to be better for him and for all of us, said Keith, who played just over 23 minutes and was a plus-2. He did a good job tonight again.
No, it wasnt dazzling. But be it pretty or the hard-hat approach, the Blackhawks dont care how they get two points, as long as they get them.
Obviously thats the way we expect to play, and the way we know we can play every single night, Toews said. Going into every game now, we just have to remind ourselves that its much more enjoyable when everyone plays the way we did tonight, and when everyones prepared the way we have as a team the last couple games. Were going to have way more fun, especially in our own building.
Jassen Cullimore cleared waivers Saturday afternoon and played for the Blackhawks on Sunday night. Quenneville said he talked briefly to the veteran Cullimore about the decision. When youre in the middle of that, its something thats tough to comment on. Afterward, seeing different decisions made, its more a business decision than hockey decision. You dont want to read too much into it and look ahead. Hes good about it. Hes a good pro. I liked his game the other night in that situation.
While Hossa and Stalberg skated on Sunday morning, Patrick Kane (left ankle) did not. Quenneville said the last couple times (Kane) was on the ice, he didnt get through practice. Well give him a little time here.
The Blackhawks had 35 hits against the Kings; Brouwer was credited with a team-high seven, followed by Seabrook with five.
Bryan Bickell had an assist on Sunday, giving him points in six of his last seven games (4 goals, 3 assists).
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.