Blackhawks

Hawks finally prevail in shootout, earn extra point

392529.jpg

Hawks finally prevail in shootout, earn extra point

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011
Posted 5:22 p.m. Updated 6:50 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks watched the opposition score another late third-period goal, erasing another slim, late third-period lead.

But instead of succumbing to another missed opportunity to get points, the Blackhawks seized this one.

Patrick Sharp scored his 31st goal of the season and Patrick Kane scored the shootout winner and the Blackhawks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. The Blackhawks came away with four of six points on this three-game homestand. Theyre still in 11th place, but just two points out of eighth.

WATCH: Sharp defends Kane

Its a good feeling thats for sure, said Sharp, whos now just five goals shy of his career-best 36 he scored in the 2007-08 season. But we cant look at taking two of three and being satisfied. We have to approach every game as a must-win. It shows out there on the ice in critical situations.

Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford stopped 24 of 26 in regulation, and all three Penguins shootout offerings, for the victory.

It was another reminder that nothing comes easy at this juncture of the season.

I just think everybodys on the same playing field in this league. Youre fighting for every inch, every point, no matter whether youre in the east or west, acting coach Mike Haviland said. It was a gutsy effort and the way we need to play going into (Monday).

Still, it didnt come without its drama. The Penguins were without top players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but they came with a hard-working game. Matt Cooke scored a short-handed goal early and Brett Sterling punched home a rebound shot with less than four minutes remaining in regulation to tie it 2-2.
Patrick Sharp reacts after scoring his 31st goal of the season in the first period against the Penguins. Since being paired on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Sharp has scored four goals in his last five games. (AP)
But Kane came through with the shootout winner, wristing it to Marc-Andre Fleurys right after the Penguins goaltender went left.

WATCH: Kane describes new shootout move

Sometimes when you miss a few in a row (in the shootout) you want to change it up a bit, said Kane, who was coming off a three-point night against Columbus on Friday. I just tried to come down the middle and pull him to the one side and bring it back. Im happy it worked, obviously.

Its just that time of year where nothings going to come easy. The Blackhawks have been dealing with that all season, so theyre definitely ready for the pressures that come with the playoff push.

Nothings been easy all year, Crawford said. It seems like weve been playing these games all year and were just getting better because of it. Hopefully it continues.
Johnson returns

Ryan Johnson came off injured reserve on Sunday morning from his concussion, and added a boost for the Blackhawks, especially on the penalty kill. Johnson, who logged 11:22 of ice time, blocked two shots and, more important, won nine of 12 faceoffs.

For sure (he was key) and it starts with the faceoffs, Haviland said. RJ came in and did a great job. We blocked a lot of shots, we were in lanes. Were going to need that PK down the stretch.

Q at home

Coach Joel Quenneville returned home on Saturday after spending a few days in the hospital getting treated for an ulcer. Haviland said they talked prior to the game and Jonathan Toews said he sent Quenneville a couple of texts.

I dont want to bother him too much, Jonathan Toews said. Hes doing well and were happy to hear that. If he could, hed be right back here as fast as he could. But the important thing is he gets healthy and be ready to do his job the best he can.

Its been a trying week for the Blackhawks, who have had Quennevilles health on their minds while battling for a playoff spot. Toews credited Haviland with the job hes done in Quennevilles absence.

Its not an easy situation to be in, Toews said. He was able to take over and did a great job of getting us through that. Hopefully we get Q back soon but well keep working no matter what.

Briefly

Fernando Pisani (head), Nick Boynton and John Scott (healthy) were the scratches on Sunday.

Sundays attendance of 22,195 was the highest for a Blackhawks game this season.

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

Patrick Kane believes there's 'chemistry to be built' with Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome

Patrick Kane believes there's 'chemistry to be built' with Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome

All eyes were on No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach during Sunday's game as he made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks, but the story leading up to puck drop was where he was going to slot into the lineup.

Would he be broken in as a winger or were the Blackhawks going to slide him into his natural position at center? And if so, where? The answer to the first question was the latter and the second drew excitement among the fanbase when the team ran through line rushes during warmups.

Dach lined up as the second-line center with Patrick Kane at right wing and Dylan Strome moved over to left wing. That's a No. 3 overall pick (Dach) alongside another No. 3 overall pick (Strome) and a No. 1 overall pick (Kane), who's a three-time Stanley Cup champion and Hart Trophy winner.

When the three of them were on the ice together at 5-on-5 against Washington, they had eight shot attempts for and nine against and four scoring chances for and five against in 12:27 of ice time, according to Natural Stat Trick. Not great, but not terrible.

On paper, the trio has some real potential and it's enough for Kane to feel like this could be a line that sticks going forward.

"I thought he played well," Kane said of Dach's debut. "Did some noticeable things where he's hanging onto the puck, big body, he's obviously still a young kid. Pretty raw, but for his first game against a really good team, one of the better teams in the league, I thought he was noticeable, had some good shifts. I think there's some chemistry to be built there. I think we can even be better. Better with him, myself and Strome, we can be better for him." 

Dach said after morning skate that he wasn't sure where he was going to fit into the lineup. But he found out shortly after and spoke after the game about what it was like playing with Kane and Strome.

"It was pretty cool," Dach said. "Obviously grew up watching Kaner play and how successful he's been in his career and Stromer is coming into his own way and how good of a player he is. They made it easy to play with those guys. It was fun. I enjoyed playing with them."

The Blackhawks return to action on Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights, one of the top teams in the Western Conference, and expect the Strome-Dach-Kane line to get another crack together as they look to strengthen their on-ice rapport.

"I look at his game, he's pretty responsible," coach Jeremy Colliton said of Dach. "He doesn't look like a centerman who is going to struggle in his own end. He looks like he knows what he's doing down there. It's not going to be perfect, but there's the opportunity for him to get a lot better really quickly. We'll see how it plays out."

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.

Four takeaways: Kirby Dach holds his own in NHL debut but Blackhawks fall to Capitals

Four takeaways: Kirby Dach holds his own in NHL debut but Blackhawks fall to Capitals

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks left wanting more

The Blackhawks were easily the better team at even strength against one of the deepest teams in the NHL. They led in total shot attempts (84-49), shots on goal (44-30), even-strength scoring chances (36-20) and even-strength high-danger chances (16-9), according to Natural Stat Trick, but couldn't pull out a win.

The Blackhawks put up 44 shots on goal against a Capitals team that allowed the second-fewest shots per game (27.8) going into the matchup. They deserved a better fate.

"I think we dictated most of the play tonight and we weren't rewarded for it, but that's the way hockey works sometimes," Drake Caggiula said. "You don't always get the bounces, you don't always get the results you're looking for, even if you play the prototypical game or the perfect game. We didn't get rewarded tonight but this is something we can build off of heading into the next one."

2. Kirby Dach's NHL debut

After being sidelined for the first week of training camp and working his way back from a concussion, the Blackhawks' No. 3 overall pick finally made his much-anticipated NHL debut. And he held his own.

Dach centered the second line with Dylan Strome playing left wing and Patrick Kane in his usual spot at right wing. He had one shot attempt, one takeaway and went 1-for-5 at the faceoff circle in 13:41 of ice time. His only noticeable blemish was not picking up Alex Ovechkin in time before he rifled a shot past Corey Crawford.

"Obviously you want to win in your first game in and help the team that way, but I felt good out there," Dach said. "But at the same time, there's things I can clean up in my game to kind of help the team moving forward."

3. Special teams is the difference

The reason the Blackhawks lost this game was their lack of success on special teams. The Capitals went 1-for-1 on the power play and scored a shorthanded goal while the Blackhawks went 0-for-5 on the power play, which included a four-minute double minor in the second period.

It was unfortunate because the Capitals entered Sunday's matchup with a +11 goal differential and +44 shot differential in the second period and a -5 goal differential and -13 shot differential in the first and third periods combined, but the Blackhawks couldn't capitalize in the middle frame even thought they outshot them 15-9. Caggiula's goal was negated just 1:28 after by Nic Down.

"You can look at in the second there, we had a lot of momentum, give up a shorthanded goal, so we gotta be better in that department," Kane said. "We also gotta be better on the power play. Comes down to things like that, but good team and I thought we had a pretty good effort overall tonight."

4. Third line stands out again

The third line of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad continues to be the driving force on offense for the Blackhawks, especially when it comes to possession. They were on the ice for 22 shot attempts for and nine against, 14 scoring chances for and four against, six high-danger chances for and one against, and one goal for and zero against in 9:07 of 5-on-5 ice time. 

Kubalik led the charge with 14 shot attempts (10 on goal) and scored a greasy goal to pull the Blackhawks within one in the third period. Kane evened it up shortly after. 

"Turned the game for us," coach Jeremy Colliton said of Kubalik's goal. "I think we were playing well, but they just took it to another level. Not only did they score, but it was an explosive shift there. And it wasn't the only good shift they had, but it really gave us momentum. They've been good."

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.