Marian Hossa scores twice in Blackhawks' shutout win over Coyotes

Marian Hossa scores twice in Blackhawks' shutout win over Coyotes

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."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks offense finally opens things up as Patrick Kane starts streaking

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks offense finally opens things up as Patrick Kane starts streaking

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the changes made to the Hawks defensive zone coverage (1:50) and Patrick Kane’s current points streak (7:30). They also discuss how most of the players that have been scratched recently have had bounce-back efforts (11:20), as well as the improved play of Erik Gustafsson (18:12) and both special teams units (20:16). Plus, the debut of “Checkpoint Charlie," where Charlie gives us a taste of life on the road and his encounter with Chris Rock’s brother (29:00).

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 


Blackhawks Talk Podcast


Jeremy Colliton explains schematic change and why Blackhawks made it

Jeremy Colliton explains schematic change and why Blackhawks made it

The Blackhawks made a schematic change after their four-game road trip and they've seen the benefits of it immediately. They're 2-0-1 in their past three games and have scored 12 goals over that stretch.

We broke down on Monday what changes were made systematically and how it has freed up the offense, but head coach Jeremy Colliton elaborated on it Tuesday and explained the reasoning behind the decision.

"All it is is, our weak side forward, we pushed him up higher in defensive zone coverage," Colliton said. "Before, we had four low a lot of times, to try and overload in certain situations. That's good, it gets you out of D-zone, but the problem is when you win the puck back, a lot of times you're very close together and it's harder to make clean plays, it's harder to exit with space to make plays. So we were having trouble entering the zone.

"There's been a lot of talk about how we have been dumping too many pucks in. Well, we're not trying to dump the puck in, but when you're attacking and you don't have numbers, you don't have space in behind, you have to, you're forced too. I think we're doing a much better job of getting from D-zone clean, because we have a forward a little bit higher, there's a little more space, it happens quicker. And then I think we've done a good job with the low three [of] someone jumping by and then we can create a little bit more space off the rush and we don't have to chip it in. We can enter clean, make some plays and I think the guys are doing very well."

Patrick Kane, who has erupted for seven points (four goals, three assists) in the past three games since the change, sees the change opening up more opportunities for the Blackhawks on offense.

"I think a lot of us probably stressed that there wasn't as much flow to it, for whatever reason that was," Kane said. "They made a change and all of a sudden it seems like we have more options coming out of our end, we have more motion, more speed coming out of our end, which is always a good thing."

The Blackhawks' dump-in rate, as Colliton noted, has been much higher this season and it’s noteworthy because they generated a lot of their offense off the rush last season from mid-December and on. But what we didn’t know was the exact reason why the Blackhawks altered the way they entered the offensive zone.

Aside from the obvious answer of cutting down on neutral zone turnovers and limiting the amount of odd-man rushes against, Colliton notes the Blackhawks were forced to dump it in more because they weren’t entering the zone with numbers. The defensive scheme didn’t really allow them to.

But with the recent fundamental change, the Blackhawks have more options to exit their own zone cleanly, pick up speed through the neutral zone and do what they do best: by carrying the puck in and having more freedom to create offense. It’s something the coaching staff and players discussed with each other, and the consensus is it will maximize the talent of this group.

"We kind of felt it was time," Colliton said. "I mean, we're always talking with them for sure and guys, they want to score more. They want to produce, guys want to make plays. And so we're just trying to find the balance. We want to continue to work on being good defensively, but we've got to score more than them. I think we can still hold onto those defensive gains we've made and score more goals."

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