Blackhawks

Hossa makes former 'mates pay with OT winner

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Hossa makes former 'mates pay with OT winner

Monday, March 28, 2011
Posted 9:12 p.m. Updated 11:44 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

DETROIT Joel Quenneville talked to Marian Hossa about double shifting against the Detroit Red Wings prior to Monday nights game. It was a tall order, and not one the coach asks of a player often.

WATCH: Hossa supremely confident

But Hossa did it and couldnt have had a better response.

Hossa scored the game-winning goal just 51 seconds into overtime and Corey Crawford stopped 33 of 35 for his 30th victory this season as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena.

The Blackhawks now have 90 points, but remained in eighth place in the Western Conference after the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 later Monday night.

Hossa has gone through his injuries and tough moments this season but has been healthy and playing strong lately. He was at it again on Monday, taking 33 shifts and playing just under 24 minutes.

Definitely at this moment I feel good but there was a stretch in the middle of the season when I had injuries, things like that and I didnt feel good at all, he said. Right now Im going without injuries and I feel like Im in (a good) tempo. Coach is using me a lot and my confidence is there.

Hossa split time with starting linemates Bryan Bickell and Marcus Kruger and also went with recent partners Michael Frolik and Tomas Kopecky.

I felt pretty good. I had a lot of confidence tonight and good things happened at the end, said Hossa, who had seven shots on goal. I was hoping to find that one shot and thank God it was the last one.

It was the third time this season the Blackhawks beat the Wings, but none may have been bigger than this one. It was an entertaining game, with great play across the board. Patrick Kane had two assists and Keith had his 35th helper on Hossas game-winner.

Joey MacDonald stopped 38 of 41 shots for Detroit.

Looking back over the course of the season, this was the most important win weve had at any point, Quenneville said. (Hossa) had a great shot and I thought he had a great game. Across the board it was a good game and a huge win for us.

Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead after the first period and they carried that into the beginning of the third. Then Henrik Zetterbergs power-play shot deflected off Chris Campoli and past Crawford to tie it.

Zetterberg was then whistled for a hooking call on Kane with just 3.7 seconds remaining in regulation to set up the Blackhawks power play and Hossas winner.
Niklas Hjalmarsson dives in front of Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom and Corey Crawford makes the save during the third period of a 2-2 tie. The Blackhawks would win on Marian Hossa's goal 51 seconds into overtime. (US PRESSWIRE)
We love the celebration after the goal. Its kind of his trademark thing right now, said Toews. Well take that. He stayed hungry all night and got that big one for us. He had some big chances early and he was around the net all night.

The Blackhawks wont have much time to rest after this one, with a tilt against Boston on Tuesday. Mondays victory was big. Theyll need a few more of those as they close in on the regular-season finish line.

I like the energy we had from the outset, Quenneville said. This was a playoff game for us. This is a huge win coming off a very disappointing loss the other night. None bigger all year.

Shipping off to Boston with momentum

Johnson OK after hit

Ryan Johnson took a Todd Bertuzzi elbow early in the first period and had to leave for a few minutes to be evaluated. He also had to have a small part of his right ear stitched back on. Johnson, who had suffered a concussion Feb. 11 in Dallas, returned to Monday nights game, playing a little more than 13 minutes.

Bertuzzi, meanwhile, was given a five-minute major as well as a game misconduct. Johnson said Bertuzzi came into the Blackhawks locker room and apologized to him.

I knew I was going to have to kind of take a hit to make the play there, but I dont think it was anything malicious, Johnson said. He was very apologetic, came walking right in here and said Sorry as soon as it happened.

Quenneville said We didnt do much with (the power play), but a five-minute major was probably the right call. Asked if Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kabinas elbow to Dave Bolland was worse, Quenneville said, absolutely.

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

Eight-defensemen rotation tricky, but Blackhawks understand juggling act

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USA TODAY

Eight-defensemen rotation tricky, but Blackhawks understand juggling act

For Jordan Oesterle, the wait really wasn’t a terrible thing.

Sure, he was used to playing more consistently in the past. But he knew with the Blackhawks carrying eight defensemen that several players, including him, would need to practice patience and understanding.

“It hasn’t been too long. It’s only been a week and a half so it’s not terrible,” said Oesterle on Thursday morning, a few hours before he made his Blackhawks debut against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers.

For the second consecutive season the Blackhawks are going with eight defensemen to start the season. In one way, it’s good: if anything goes awry, be it someone’s game or someone’s health, the depth is readily there.

But so are the challenges. It’s a juggling act, a delicate balance between making the right decisions and making sure a player understands that a scratch may be more about the rotation and not his individual game.

Communication, above all, is key.

“It’s not easy being the guys who are in or out, right on that bubble situation where you come in not knowing if you’re going to play. But as a staff we want to keep everyone involved,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We know the depth of your defense is going to get challenged at some point during the year. We feel the eight guys who are here can play but that’s how we’ve always done it: We’ve always let guys know whether you’re in or out. Sometimes you have to be more patient than you’d like but handling it the right way, whether you’re a good pro or teammate, that can be healthy around the environment of your team.”

Based on all outward appearances, everyone has handled it well. Connor Murphy has been a healthy scratch twice – “I mean I just want to see the team win really...if we're winning and guys are playing well that's all that matter,” Murphy said after his first scratch.

Oesterle was a healthy scratch the first seven games. Michal Kempny, who Oesterle replaced, has been scratched the last two games. Cody Franson has also sat seven games. Franson, whose patience has been in place while awaiting contracts in his career, is practicing it again. But he’s appreciated the Blackhawks’ communication on it.

“This situation gets tough when they don’t say anything to you; you don’t know if it’s because of the way you’re playing, you don’t know if it’s something you did or what the situation is. The coaching staff has done a great job of being in our ear, letting us leave our work at the rink and not take it home with us,” Franson said. “That goes a long way in being able to stay positive and in the right mindset through it.”

After starting with eight defensemen last season the Blackhawks eventually went back to seven. Will they do that again this season? Maybe, but whoever gets sent down would most likely have to go through waivers. The Blackhawks reassigned Gustav Forsling last season to get back to seven defensemen and get Forsling more playing time. But this season Forsling and Jan Rutta have been dependable and have pretty much become the Blackhawks’ second pairing.

So for now, eight defensemen it shall be. Being part of the rotation isn’t always easy but so far players seem to get that it’s for the greater good.

“It’s one of those things where we’ve got eight quality guys. I think no matter who’s sitting on any given night, it might not necessary be due to how they’re playing or how they’re doing individually,” Franson said. “I think Q’s done a great job of managing that situation. That’s one of those things where it’s a great problem to have but it’s not an easy one to handle. So we’re all aware of what’s taking place right now and you just try to be as professional about it as you can.”

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Coyotes: Puck don't lie

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Coyotes: Puck don't lie

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night:
 
1. Surviving a crazy first period.

The Blackhawks committed four penalties in the opening frame within a 2:18 span, and escaped unscathed from it despite a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities for the Coyotes.

Of course, the only goal allowed in the period came from a fluke deflection off Jordan Oesterle's stick and slipped underneath Corey Crawford's five-hole.

Joel Quenneville likes to say the team that takes advantage of their 5-on-3 opportunities has a pretty good chance to win the game. It applied in this case, with the Blackhawks coming out victorious after surviving that stretch.

2. Power play comes alive early.

The Blackhawks got off on the right foot in an area that has been an issue for them this season, capitalizing on their first power play of the game 24 seconds into it when Richard Panik redirected a Jonathan Toews shot that tricked past Louis Domingue.

Good thing too, because it was the only man advantage they'd get. Well, excluding the power play they received with 17 seconds left in regulation when the game was already decided. 
 
3. Another controversial review in Arizona.

What's with it with controversial reviews in Arizona and the Blackhawks being on the wrong end of the call?

The Blackhawks appeared to have taken a 3-1 lead when Tommy Wingels converted on a penalty shot, but it was overturned after officials reviewed it and determined the Coyotes netminder got a stick on Wingels' initial shot. Replays didn't exactly show conclusive evidence, but the NHL released a statement proving otherwise:

Video review determined that Wingels shot the puck into the net after Arizona goaltender Louis Domingue made contact with the puck. According to Rule 24.2, "No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind."

Shortly after, the Coyotes scored in the final minutes of the period to even up the score at 2-2 in a big turn of events at the time.
 
4. ... But puck don't lie.

The overturned penalty shot didn't matter in the end though, because the Blackhawks came away with the victory and Wingels ended up getting his first goal after all on an empty netter that iced the game.

It was Wingels' first goal as a member of his hometown team, and it was well deserved for a guy who was part of the fourth line that turned in arguably their best performance of the season.
 
5. Lance Bouma rewarded with game-winning goal.

Speaking of which, it was fitting that Bouma scored the game winner with 4:24 left in the third period because that trio of Bouma, Wingels and John Hayden was around the net for the majority of the night.

They combined for two goals and two assists, had eight attempts shot attempts (five on goal), eight of the team's 16 hits and four blocked shots.