Saturday, April 2, 2011Posted: 3:40 PM
By Tracey Myers
Troy Brouwer could laugh about it on Saturday.
The Chicago Blackhawks forward was as relieved as his teammates for getting out of Columbus with a 4-3 shootout victory on Friday night. But he also recognized that, considering their play, they couldve come home empty-handed.
I don't even know if we deserved to win. We tried real hard to not win that game, he said. If we tighten up our game, stop taking penalties, we'll have no problem making the playoffs. But we need to do those things.
True and true. And the Blackhawks know that has to come Sunday when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center.
The Blackhawks got out of Columbus with a victory, despite sloppy play and taking too many penalties in the second period. The latter problem cost them one goal, a 5-on-3 Blue Jackets tally that tied the game.
As Quenneville said Friday night, the Blackhawks were lucky to get out of that second giving up just one power-play goal. Maybe it helped that Columbus, already missing Rick Nash, has a power play ranked 28th in the NHL.
But against the Lightnings sixth-ranked power play seventh on the road the Blackhawks need to be disciplined. They also need to avoid some of the turnovers that didnt prove costly on Friday.
We were fortunate to come out even (in the second). There are some games you have disappointing losses but you're happy when you get that win, Quenneville said. When we start making East-West (passes), there are certain times when our offense leads to their offense. We want to be more direct in those types of plays and not let teams feed off of what we do.
Dave Bollands progress from his concussion has been minor. On Saturday, Quenneville said Bollands recovery status is slow. Its probably been a frustrating time for Bolland and the Blackhawks will be reminded of what they lost when they face the Lightning on Sunday.
Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina elbowed Bolland in their March 9 game in Tampa Bay, and Sunday marks the rematch between the teams. But Blackhawks coaches and players said retaliation cannot be part of the game.
Its not really a focus, Brouwer said. At this time of the season, you cant be trying to take liberties on players and cost your team power plays and points that are so important. Its one of those things that youll always remember it. But right now, it's not the time to be thinking about those things.
We have to be smart, he said. At this stage of the (season), as far as getting even, the best we can do that is win hockey games.
Patrick Sharp continues to make progress from his left knee injury. Quenneville is hoping Sharp is skating sometime this week and will have a better idea of when he could return after that.
Right now well get a better indication when we get him on the ice. And well see if he's close to getting on the ice the next couple of days, Quenneville said. Hopefully this week he will be (skating).
Columbus defenseman Jan Hejda was suspended two games by the NHL for elbowing Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger on Friday night. Hejda got a minor penalty during Fridays game; the suspension came down Saturday morning.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.