Hawks surrounded by Coyotes, dropped 4-1 by Phoenix in United Center return

photo credit: AP/Yahoo! Sports

By Brad Vandenberk

With the scent of circus still in the air at the United Center, the Chicago Blackhawks returned home to play their final game in November.  The Phoenix Coyotes were in town seeking revenge for the 5-2 loss they suffered at the hands of the Hawks back in Glendale in October.

The Coyotes got their revenge as they out played the Hawks from the opening faceoff.

Mike Smith withstood a barrage of Hawks shots in the opening moments.  It was the Coyotes that open the scoring.  With 4:07 remaining in the opening period, Daymond Langkow completed a tic tack toe play from Ray Whitney and Shane Doan.  The period ended with Hawks down 1-0 and out shot 8-7.

The second period saw the Coyotes extend their lead as Mikkel Boedker dropped a pass to Shane Doan who let a rocket go from the top of the right circle.  It repelled past Corey Crawford, hit the crossbar and fell beyond the goal line making it 2-0 with 10:06 remaining in the period.

Later, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg found themselves matched up against a tired fourth line of Phoenix, but were unable to beat Smith.  The Hawks again were outshot 10-8 in this period.  The first penalty wasn’t whistled until the 33:47 mark when Sean O’Donnell was called for a Delay of Game minor, but the Coyotes were unable to score on the power play.

Just a 1:12 into the third period Radim Vrbata put a backhand over Crawford making the score 3-0.  The Hawks were trying to answer back with some momentum, however at the 14:58 mark of the third, Vrbata found Ray Whitney all alone in front of the net.  He fired a puck past Crawford putting the Hawks in an even deeper whole down 4-0.

Crawford was then pulled for Ray Emery.

Dan Carcillo tried to get the team fired up by trying to fight Langkow.  Both were sent to the box for cross checking.  While the penalty was being called Keith Yandle put one past Emery, but the goal was disallowed as the whistle had gone before the puck went in.   As Carcillo returned to the ice, he was sent right back to the sin bin as he tried to slash Langkow and get something going once again.  The Coyotes were unable to score on that man advantage.

Finally the Hawks got there chance on the power play as Rostislav Klesla was sent to the box for cross checking Marian Hossa with 2:49 to go.  This was the Hawks first attempt on the power play.  They again came up short handed.

With just 42.9 seconds remaining in the game and the Hawks down 4-0, Patrick Kane spotted Sharp at the side of the net.  The Hawks were on the board, but it was too little too late as the Hawks fell 4-1 in their first game home after their 13 day, 6 game road trip.

Quick Hits:

-All 5 goals were scored 5 on 5.

-Hawks went 0 for 1 on the power play.

-Although being outshot the first 2 periods, the Hawks outshot the Coyotes 25-24 in the losing cause.

-Ex-Hawk Radim Vrbata registered a goal, assist and was named the game’s 1st star…. Former Blackhawks’ captain Adrian Aucoin led all Coyotes in ice time, 24:57, also just 16 seconds fewer than Duncan Keith’s TOI on Tuesday.

-Duncan Keith led all Hawks with 25:13 of ice time.  The Hawks’ team-low, by a margin of four minutes, was winger Bryan Bickell, 6:41.

-Dave Bolland and Micheal Frolik led the Hawks with 4 shots on net…. Niklas Hjalmarsson was a team-worst minus-3.

-Corey Crawford’s save percentage dipped below ninety percent, from .902 to .898 and his goals against average rose to 2.86 (up from 2.77) in allowing 4 goals on 21 shots in 45 minutes of action.

-Sami Lepisto, John Scott and Ben Smith were the Blackhawks’ scratches.  Daniel Carcillo returned after being a scratch Saturday in Los Angeles in favor of John Scott skating at forward on the fourth line.  For Lepisto, it was his 5th consecutive healthy scratch…. Ben Smith sat for the 4th straight game.  He played in the first two games after his recall (the horrific losses in Calgary and Edmonton) but not since.  As a sidenote to Lepisto’s scratches, Sean O’Donnell has dressed for the past 5 games, including Tuesday versus the Coyotes.

-Blackhawks continue their home stand on Friday as the New York Islanders visit the UC.

Brad Vandenberk

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