Scott Darling was asked about the Blackhawks’ confidence level following their 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets: was the Blackhawks’ lack of scoring affecting it?
Darling doubted it, adding that it was just about the Blackhawks finding their chemistry again, “because when it’s going, it’s pretty lethal.”
The Blackhawks’ offense may not have been lethal on Tuesday night but it was effective. And for a team that had just two goals in their previous two games combined, it was a welcome sight.
Marian Hossa scored twice and Scott Darling stopped all 22 shots he saw as the Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks snapped their two-game losing streak and remain atop the Western Conference and Central Division with 37 points.
The Blackhawks, already without Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford, lost Brent Seabrook in the second period to an upper-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said they’ll see how Seabrook, who fell awkwardly near the boards and was holding his head while he was down, is doing on Wednesday.
In this one, the Blackhawks found their scoring touch against an Arizona team that’s struggled this season and was coming off a game Monday in Columbus. While the Coyotes did to the Blackhawks what many have done to them in the opening minutes – outshooting them by a decent margin – the Blackhawks nevertheless took the first-period lead on Artem Anisimov’s power-play goal.
“Nice play at the net. Lateral passes or seam passes with those guys, that’s what they’ll always be looking for,” Quenneville said. “It’s nice to see us get a goal and that should help us settle things down.”
It did. The Blackhawks never looked back after that, scoring twice within 19 seconds – Hossa’s first of the game and Dennis Rasmussen’s second of the season – to distance themselves.
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“It’s always nice to see them go into the net, whoever scores them,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “It gets everyone going. A lot of nice plays were made today so that gets the blood pumping, gets you flying around out there. But yeah, it’s obviously a lot of guys know how to put the puck in the net. always fun when you put a few in.”
And then there was Hossa again, scoring his 14th of the season in the third period, a breakaway off a nice feed from Niklas Hjalmarsson.
“That was beautiful play by Hammer on that last goal. But when you’ve got the time, you can aim a little bit,” Hossa said. “Obviously, the first one was a little bit lucky. I tried to squeeze it in. It went in. And it just feels good to put the puck in.”
Maybe the Blackhawks’ confidence wasn’t wavering despite the lack of goals. They nevertheless were looking to create more, to generate more, especially with their captain out of the lineup for a seventh consecutive game. They got opportunities on Tuesday and took advantage of them.
“It proves that when we play the right way defensively we’re going to get chances like we did tonight,” Darling said. “Hopefully we can remember this one going forward."