Blackhawks

Back in business: Blackhawks force Game 6

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Back in business: Blackhawks force Game 6

Thursday, April 21, 2011Posted: 11:45 p.m. Updated: 1:09 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Duncan Keith stood with a media swarm around him, his defensive partner Brent Seabrooks sweater hanging in the empty locker beside him.

Seabrooks missed the last two games after taking Raffi Torres shoulder to the head in Game 3. The Blackhawks didnt like seeing that hit, didnt like seeing it go unpunished afterward. But Keith said thats in the past. Sort of.

WATCH: Keith on his career night

Weve moved on from that incident, he said. But at the same time hes a good teammate, a good friend and we use everything we can as motivation to come out fighting.

That apparently goes quadruple for Keith.

Keith had a career-best four-point night and Marian Hossa had two goals and a helper as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 in their Western Conference quarterfinal series. The Blackhawks are now within one, 3-2, in the series that goes back to Chicago for Sundays Game 6.
Corey Crawford was also stellar, stopping all 36 shots he faced for his first career postseason shutout.

Be it Keiths huge offensive night, Crawfords net work or the Blackhawks big offensive guns awoke from their slumber Hossa and Patrick Kane got their first goals of the series the Blackhawks were relentless. Hossa and Keith scored within 24 seconds of each other -- the second time the Blackhawks tallied bang-bang goals -- to stun the Canucks and silence Rogers Arena.
WATCH: Kane says the group is confident
And for the second straight game the Blackhawks ended Roberto Luongos night early. Hossas breakaway was the final blow, sending Luongo off just 1:26 into the second period. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said Luongo will start Game 6 in Chicago.

Keith was stellar on all fronts but made his biggest impact on the score sheet. He had a team-high eight shots on goal the Blackhawks had 26 as a team and was a plus-2 at the end of the night.

WATCH: Hossa wants to do the same thing in Chicago

Asked how the Canucks could slow Keith down, Vigneault said, well analyze tonight and see what we can come up with.

And if not for a Kane deflection, Keith has a hat trick and a five-point night.

I kind of felt bad about that, Kane said. But he was awesome. Hes been great all series but you expect him to show up in big games like that.

And Keith has been showing up in several ways lately. Keiths a quiet guy in front of the cameras and tape recorders, but according to Jonathan Toews, hes been making himself heard lately nonetheless.

WATCH: Toews looking forward to coming home

Hes been a force verbally in the locker room and on the bench, Toews said. Hes killing penalties, scoring big goals on the power play. You saw him in the last game, hes getting in (the Canucks) faces and hes not afraid to get into it after the whistle. At the same time, nothings going to take him off his game right now. Every guy in this room can take a page out of his book right now.

The Blackhawks last two games have been more the type of hockey theyve wanted to play. Theyve outscored the Canucks 12-2, theyve chased Luongo twice and they very well could be getting to Vancouvers psyche once again.

But for the Blackhawks its all about them.

Honestly, were focused on our team and what were doing, Keith said. Im not just saying that. Were facing elimination, we believe in our team and we believe we can play with this team. Its not a coincidence theyre Presidents' Trophy winners. But we believe we can play with them.

Crawford stellar

The Blackhawks did what was necessary at one end and Crawford more than did his part at the other, stopping 36 in what coach Joel Quenneville called a special night for the rookie goaltender.

WATCH: Q says it was a special night for Crawford

Corey Crawford was dazzling in his performance in Game 6. Crawford saved all 36 Vancouver shots for his first postseason shutout. (US PRESSWIRE)
But Crawford was once again calling it a team effort. He pointed specifically at the 20 blocked shots the Blackhawks gathered.

There were a couple of times in the slot when they had a good opportunity and we came up with a huge block. Those things are important, he said. We were hard on pucks all around the ice and making smart plays. Our PK was really good tonight. When all those things come together it makes for a really good game.

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

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.