Blackhawks

Destiny in Hawks' hands after overtime victory

438838.jpg

Destiny in Hawks' hands after overtime victory

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Posted: 9:49 p.m. Updated: 11:10 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com
The Chicago Blackhawks felt they got the raw end of an officials call on Tuesday in Montreal. On Wednesday it looked like the got the benefit of a big one.

Marian Hossa was awarded a goal on the ice and Toronto let the call stand, and Jonathan Toews scored the overtime winner as the Blackhawks came back to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 at the United Center on Wednesday night.

Watch: Toews knows it's do or die for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will likely end the night in eighth place, as Anaheim was beating San Jose and has more regulationovertime victories. But on the night Patrick Sharp returned from a left knee injury, it looked like the Blackhawks wouldnt manage one point.
David Backes put the Blues up 1-0 just 17 seconds in and T.J. Oshie added one 66 seconds into the second. Then came the controversy. With about 12 minutes left in the second the Blackhawks scrambled to hit the puck past Ty Conklin and Hossa was awarded the goal on the ice. Replays showed Hossa kicking the puck in, with it barely crossing the line. But after a lengthy review in Toronto, the goal stood.

Officials ruled the puck hit the post on Hossas kick, then came out and Hossas stick touched the puck and it rolled across the line. There was inconclusive evidence to overrule the on-ice call.

Both Hossa and I didnt think it was in but the ref was standing right there and he pointed and he said all four guys had it as a goal on the ice, Sharp said. I guess they got it right.

Watch: Keith gives thoughts on the goal review

Coach Joel Quenneville said I think it was inconclusive on a couple of fronts. The call on the ice was a good goal, so you had to prove it wasnt, and the call on the ice was probably going to stand either way. Nothing showed that it wasnt or it was, and I think thats why it stood.

Conklin felt otherwise.

They called it a goal on the ice, which is fine, thats understandable. But the reason we have video replay is to get the right call. Theyre probably going to make it into the playoffs anyway, but do we really have to make it that obvious that the league wants them in? he said. It was a close play, but the puck never crossed the line.

The Blackhawks got two more that period from Tomas Kopecky and Nick Leddy but St. Louis wasnt going away. Chris Stewart scored midway through the third period to force overtime before Toews got the winner, his 32nd goal of the season.

St. Louis was determined to end our season. Obviously they had nothing to lose, said Toews. Well take (goals) any way we can. It doesnt matter who scores. As long as they go in somehow well take them.
Welcome back

Watch: Sharp on his return

Sharp gave his healing left knee a go for about 10 minutes on Tuesday and about twice that Wednesday morning.

Was it fully healed? Probably not. But at this time of year, Sharp wasnt going to sit on the sidelines any longer.

Sharp came back after missing the last seven games with a knee injury, playing nearly 20 minutes and tallying an assist in the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime victory over St. Louis on Wednesday. Sharp said he felt rusty and wouldve liked to have had a practice with his teammates prior to Wednesdays game. But he was going regardless.

I just think its that time of year when you do what you can to help the team and I definitely felt better, Sharp said. Mentally Im past the injury and just focused on what I can do to get us in the playoffs.

Its that time of year that I dont think anybodys 100 percent out there, Sharp continued. You do what it takes.

Watch: Quenneville on Sharp's return

Yes, Sharp is gutting it out. And asked if he wouldve started Sharp if this were game 40 instead of game 80, coach Joel Quenneville said, probably not.

He had some good jump in his game and brought a lot of spirit to our team and energy as well, Quenneville said. It was good to have him back.
Leddy points
Leddy had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks on Wednesday. Quenneville said the 20-year-old has had strong outings lately.

It was a nice shot, a great shot, Quenneville said of Leddys goal, his fourth of the season. He had poise, patience and hes really picked up his game the last two nights.
Fun with Marty

Marty Turco had a little fun with a Montreal fan on Tuesday night, winning and losing a 5 bet in the Blackhawks 2-1 overtime loss to the Canadiens. The fan called into Team 990 Montreal after that game to relate the story.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday that the Blackhawks were going to deal with it internally. Quenneville looked more amused than anything in addressing it.

Well leave it at that, he said with a grin.
Briefly

Marcus Kruger and John Scott were the healthy scratches on Wednesday night.

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

Blackhawks are one of NHL's hottest teams, but have they turned a corner?

blackhawks_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Blackhawks are one of NHL's hottest teams, but have they turned a corner?

For the first two and a half months of the season, the Blackhawks were battling through major inconsistency issues. They had won more than two games in a row just once and lost at least three straight five times.

And yet somehow, the Blackhawks still found themselves afloat in the Western Conference playoff race. 

But the tide has finally started to turn.

Since Dec. 15, the Blackhawks are 12-5-0 and have the fourth-most standings points in the NHL over that span with 24. They’ve also won a season-long five consecutive games and have a plus-13 goal differential during their winning streak.

Now, there are certainly some statistical trends that are unsustainable over the long term that could result in a market correction. Their on-ice shooting percentage (13.0) and save percentage (94.7) at 5-on-5 play during their winning streak is a combined 107.7, which is the second-highest in the league over that stretch.

But the Blackhawks are playing a brand of hockey that will win them games more often than not going forward: The top guys are producing, the depth scoring is there, the defensive structure has tightened up and the goaltending remains strong.

"No question,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said on whether he feels this type of performance will continue to lead to positive results. “We are being rewarded. There's no reason to get away from it. It's paying off and the more it gets into our mentality and our identity that this is who we are, and we'll do this no matter what, it's a habit and you don't think twice about it. We still need to work at preparing to approach the game that way, but when we do it's easier for you and you'll set up your teammates as well."

Perhaps the most notable part of the winning streak is the fact the Blackhawks look like a team that's on the same page after making an in-season schematic adjustment in November, on top of dealing with an array of key injuries. The Blackhawks stayed the course and aren't wavering from their game which we saw them do earlier in the season, whether they're playing with a lead or a deficit. 

Take Sunday's 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets as an example. The Blackhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, gave up a late goal in the second period that cut their lead to 2-1, but punched back in the third period by scoring twice to pull ahead 4-1, which iced the game.

One month ago, the Blackhawks would probably find a way to squander that two-goal lead. That hasn't been the case over the last month and the Blackhawks are hoping this becomes part of their DNA.

"We're finally starting to full buy-in to the system," Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner said. "Full effort level, doing the right things at the right times. ... Everyone's just doing their job, and we're starting to feel [that] doing those things gets you rewarded and everyone keeps doing it. We're doing well, but we've just got to keep doing it because every point is crucial."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.

Jonathan Toews named NHL's Third Star of the week

usatsi_13924548.jpg
USA Today

Jonathan Toews named NHL's Third Star of the week

The Blackhawks (24-20-6, 54 points) are on fire, having won five straight games to vault them back into the Western Conference playoff picture.

Jonathan Toews has been key to that stretch, and on Monday, he was recognized for his recent stellar play by being named the NHL's Third Star of the week. Alex Ovechkin and Elvis Merzlikins nabbed the top two spots:

In four games between Jan. 14 and Jan. 19 (all Blackhawks wins, of course), Toews led the NHL in points with nine (three goals, six assists). And none of them were empty. Among myriad highlights was this game-winning slingshot to beat the Senators 3-2 in overtime to kick off the week (the 15th overtime game-winner of his career):

His two-goal, two-assist outing against the Maple Leaf days later was pretty fun, too:

Toews rides a six-game point streak into Tuesday night's bout with the Florida Panthers. If he extends it, he'll become the sixth player in Blackhawks history to reach 800 career points. 

The milestones and accolades are piling up for The Captain and, crucially, they're translating in the win column for the Blackhawks.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.