Blackhawks get back on track with win over Coyotes

Blackhawks get back on track with win over Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Blackhawks were relieved more than reveling late Thursday night. 

For the first 20 minutes it looked like the desert air was good for what was ailing them. They were shooting, they were scoring – even on the power play – and they were manhandling the Arizona Coyotes in every facet of the game. But a bad second period had the Blackhawks clinging to a one-goal lead instead of playing with a three-goal one, and they found a way to hang onto it.

Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal, as did Marian Hossa, and the Blackhawks survived a terrible second period to beat the Coyotes 4-3 on Thursday. The Blackhawks remain in second in the Central Division, four points behind the Minnesota Wild. The Wild, who were idle on Thursday, still have three games in hand.

But the Blackhawks weren't in the most celebratory mood after this one. They'll take the two points and snapping a three-game losing streak. But terrible miscues in the second period turned what looked to be a lopsided game into one that ended up way too close.

"Just kind of let them back in the game. Gave it to them. We just can't do that against any team. That's one of the bottom teams in the league and they still come back," Corey Crawford said. "It's a good lesson for us."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!] 

The lesson almost went unheeded. The Blackhawks were Dr. Jekyll through the first 20 minutes, Mr. Hyde in the next 20. Their first period may have been their best period of the season, and two power-play goals (Kane and Hossa) and Ryan Hartman's 11th goal of the season staked them to a 3-0 advantage.

Then came the second, and just 10 seconds into that the Blackhawks were on the penalty kill. Nine seconds after that they gave the Coyotes a two-man advantage on which Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored. Oh, and then there were the delay-of-game penalties. Three of them. In one period.

Asked if the second period was the Blackhawks' worst of the season, coach Joel Quenneville said, "it was the worst shooting the puck in the crowd."

"We gotta keep it in the building on three occasions there. Tough to lose momentum on plays like that," Quenneville said. "We played a great first period, great start to the game, had everything going, give up a 5-on-3 and almost got through it, but it got them going."

Trevor van Riemsdyk wouldn't say how blue the conversation got in the second intermission. He said the Blackhawks just took stock of where they were, despite that second.

"We just knew that we had a great first and the second wasn't according to the plan. But if you look at it from afar, one goal up on the road with a chance to win isn't a bad spot," he said. "You just kind of gotta look at it that way, come out and try to mirror that first period or just play the way we know we're supposed to [play]."

The Blackhawks eked one out. It was a night where they'll take the points, but they know a second period like that cannot happen.

"Big two points for us," Crawford said. "You want to play solid the whole game and I think that's just a good one for us to get two points and build off of all the positives."

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He's 0-2-0 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this season.

In 18 career appearances against the Oilers, Crawford is 9-7-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. 

The decision is a little surprising, given how well Lehner performed on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and what his career numbers are against the Oilers. In eight starts vs. Edmonton, Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout.

"We're going to continue to ... both guys are going to get in," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's morning skate. "They're both going to play. I'm not going to give you the road map, but today it's Crawford and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are seeking their first win of the season (0-2-1) against an Oilers team that's 5-0-0.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.