Blackhawks

Campoli's first goal is a winner; Sharp injured

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Campoli's first goal is a winner; Sharp injured

Sunday, March 18, 2011
Posted 9:32 p.m. Updated 10:43 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. Chris Campoli had been looking for his first goal with the Chicago Blackhawks since he was traded to them at the deadline.

He couldnt have picked a better time to convert.

Campoli scored the game-winner on a power play late in the third period as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 at Jobing.com Arena on Sunday night. The victory put the Blackhawks back into fifth place in the Western Conference.

But it came at a cost. Patrick Sharp went down with an apparent left knee injury when Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla collided with him with 1:35 left in the first period. Sharp did not return, and coach Joel Quenneville said he would be re-evaluated on Monday.

Keith: No replacing Sharp

We dont now for sure, Quenneville said of how long Sharp could be out. Weve definitely lost a couple guys in the last stretch. Hopefully (Brian Campbell) can come back and well see about Sharpy.

Corey Crawford stopped 22 of 23 shots, including two critical ones in the closing minutes, to preserve the regulation victory.

The Blackhawks only had two power plays on the night -- their second came on a questionable-at-best holding call on Phoenix captain Shane Doan but they took advantage of both. Duncan Keith scored on the first advantage, and the Blackhawks scored on six of 10 power plays against Phoenix this season.

We know the power play and penalty kill is a big deal in the playoffs and these games here are as close as it gets to playoff-style hockey, said Jonathan Toews, who fed Campoli the pass through the crease on the winner. It was kind of a slow-motion play where all he had to do was get good wood on it and he made no mistakes. Obviously it was a huge goal for us.

For Campoli, it was also a weight off the shoulders. The defenseman, acquired from Ottawa on Feb. 28, has had some good scoring chances since arriving in Chicago. So Sundays goal was especially sweet.

Toewser saw me going, gave me a great pass and we executed it the way we do in practice. It worked out well, he said. Its huge.

Quenneville said hes had some great looks, had some great opportunities. It was a great play and a great finish. It was a nice start in the goal-scoring department for him.

The Blackhawks didnt allow the Coyotes much their lone goal was an Eric Belanger shot that hit off Nick Leddy and past Crawford.

It wasnt the prettiest win but we did what we had to do, said Keith, who was back with old partner Brent Seabrook as the game wore on Sunday. I thought we deserved to win tonight. We had a lot of chances and the good thing is we won in regulation.

The Blackhawks banded together a man down. It didnt have to be pretty. It just had to yield them two points.

I thought we had a defense-first mentality, especially after the outing (on Thursday), Campoli said. We wanted to bounce back. Good teams find a way to do that, and we did that tonight.

Sharp injured

The Blackhawks have had their share of injuries this season and may be missing another star depending on the severity of Sharps knee injury. If hes out for a bit, the Blackhawks said theyll find a way to press on.

Its just the story of the year, Toews said. Weve had a lot of guys go down. As frustrating as it is for those individuals, they always battle back and bring a lot when theyre ready to play again. Hes going to hurry back as quickly as he can. For the time being were going to have to step it up and find a way to score goals and create offense.

The Blackhawks got through the final two periods on Sunday without Sharp by juggling lines throughout.

I thought the guys did a good job of trying to fill in and step up, Keith said. When guys go down you need others to fill the void and tonight we did that.

Briefly

Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin was honored in a pregame ceremony for playing in his 1000th NHL game on Sunday night. Keith was part of the video tribute. Aucoin spent two seasons with the Blackhawks.

Forward Ben Smith was recalled from Rockford for Sundays game as a precautionary move. Smith, who found out he was being called up prior to Rockfords game on Saturday, was a healthy scratch against Phoenix. He was reassigned to Rockford immediately after the game.

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

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

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AP

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.