Blackhawks

Sizzling Toews, Hawks top Flames for six straight

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Sizzling Toews, Hawks top Flames for six straight

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Posted 10:34 p.m. Updated 11:51 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The mantra had been there throughout the season: the Chicago Blackhawks needed a winning streak, a lengthy, point-producing, surge-up-the-standings streak.

They couldnt get it for a long time, but theyre getting it now.

Jonathan Toews scored twice and Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists, his first points in a Blackhawks uniform, as the Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 6-4 at the United Center on Wednesday night.

WATCH: Toews beaming with confidence

That Blackhawks, who were struggling and in 11th place not so long ago, have now won six straight and jumped to fourth in the Western Conference.

Weve been saying all year that we needed to put something like this together to put ourselves in the spot we want to be out. Just about every team in the conference around us has had that kind of roll, coach Joel Quenneville said. What we just did were happy about, but its what were going to do moving forward thats going to determine what we have to do.

Toews, who was the NHLs No. 1 star for February, is now on a seven-game points streak. Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford got the victory in net.

Once again, the Blackhawks strong start came from their stellar top line. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Toews worked a pretty tic-tac-toe passing effort, with Toews finishing for a 1-0 lead. Frolik added his goal, his first in 32 games, at the end of the period.

Yeah, I finally got the monkey off my back, said Frolik. We won and I helped the team do that. And I like that.

If there was any negative it was the Blackhawks third period. For the second consecutive game a comfortable three-goal lead turned into a shaky one-goal one for a while. The Blackhawks were up 4-1 heading into the third when the Flames responded, getting to within one twice before Hossa sealed it with an empty-net goal with 39 seconds remaining.

Well take wins how we can get them, said Sharp. Its frustrating the way the game ended but were going to have to win those tight games down the stretch. We can look at it in a negative way that in the third periods weve given up a few goals, but I like to look at it that we hang on to the lead and get the points.

The Blackhawks are rolling now. Theyve gone from the outside of the standings to right in the middle of them. Theyve done it by not getting too far ahead of themselves, just focusing on the next game on the docket.

Rinse and repeat.
Michael Frolik and Marian Hossa celebrate Hossa's empty-net goal. Frolik recorded his first points as a Blackhawk with a goal and two assists. The goal was his first since Dec. 17 when he was with the Florida Panthers (US PRESSWIRE)
The standings are so tight right now, these two points make a huge difference, Toews said. Every win that we have lately weve been able to put it behind us and focus on the next game. Thats what were going to do this week and focus on Friday now.

Campolis debut

Defenseman Chris Campoli played nearly 17 minutes in his Blackhawks debut, finishing with two shots on goal and three hits. Campoli, who was paired with Brian Campbell, also played some on the power play and penalty kill.

I liked him, Quenneville said. He was very active off the back end, made a lot of direct plays and was patient. I think that pair could have the puck a lot, be it off the point in the offensive zone or forechecking pressure in our own end. Hell get more comfortable in our system but it was a good first game.

Ring for HOF

Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Bill Hay and Blackhawks president John McDonough will add a 2010 Stanley Cup ring to the special Cup display at the Hockey Hall of Fame later this month. The ring, donated by the Blackhawks, will be displayed next to the first Stanley Cup ring (1893).

Briefly

Ryan Johnson won 11 of 12 faceoffs for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Fernando Pisani and John Scott were scratches against the Flames.

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

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

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USA TODAY

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!