Dec 062011

By Brad Vandenberk

The Chicago Blackhawks tried to go for their third straight win Monday night, as they were host to the Phoenix Coyotes.  No more then six days ago those same Coyotes out played the Hawks to a 4-1 victory.  This was the third game in 4 nights for the Hawks.

This game was carried nationally on TV through Versus and TSN2 with US Hall of Fame inductee Mike “Doc” Emrick and Eddie O on the call, with Pierre McGuire between the benches.  Corey Crawford and Mike Smith started in their respected nets, which turned out to be the same goalie match up as 6 nights ago.

The lines mimicked what coach Q put together in St Louis on Saturday night.  Dan Carcillo was on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Marcus Kruger was still centering the second line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on the wings.  Dave Bolland centered the third line with Ben Smith and Michael Frolik and finally Viktor Stalberg was on the fourth line with Jamal Mayers and Andrew Brunette.  Bryan Bickell, Sami Lepisto and the mighty John Scott were the scratches.

The Coyotes started the game the same way they did last contest by coming out and forcing the Hawks to play aggressive.  It didn’t take long for the Coyotes to find the score sheet as Hawks defensemen Steve Montador blew a tire and gave up a 2 on 1.  Kyle Boedker sent a pass over to Hawks nemesis Raffi Torres who found the back of the net giving the Yotes a 1-0 lead with 17:25 remaining in the opening frame.

McGuire made a few comments during the first period calling the Hawks to “cute” and “nice”.  This was because they were not getting pucks to the net.  They were trying to give that pass or get that fancy play.

The first penalty of the game was called on Adrian Aucoin for holding Jonathan Toews as he tried to break through the defense.  The Hawks were unable to capitalize on the power play with the Coyotes performing a perfect penalty kill.

With 1:47 left in the first period Ray Whitney fed ex-Hawk Radim Vrbata who waited for Crawford to commit and slid the puck across the goal line giving the Coyotes a 2-0 lead.

The period ends with the Coyotes out shooting the Hawks 15-11.

Coach Q opened up the second period with Stalberg moving back up to the first line with Toews and Kane, while Carcillo heads down to the fourth.  It seemed to work as the first shift on the fresh ice was a dominant one.  However, the Coyotes came up ice and Keith Yandle put a shot on net with David Schlemko performing a perfect screen in front of Crawford.  The shot eludes Crawford and its 3-0 Yotes with 18:51 left in the second period. This goal saw the end of the night for Crawford as Ray Emery came into the game.

Just a minute thirty one after the Coyotes goal, Toews scored his 16th of the season.  Kane entered the offensive zone and tried to go cross ice to a streaking Duncan Keith.  The pass was intercepted by a Coyotes’ defensemen but Toews found it in the crowd and put it past Mike Smith, cutting the Yotes lead to 2.

Ben Smith battling in front of the net draws a holding call, giving the Hawks another chance on the power play.  At the :42 mark of the power play, Keith let a shot go that was redirected by Toews past Smith making the score 3-2.  Toews gets his second of the night and his league leading 17th of the season.

And Toews wasn’t done!  He hustled to a puck in the Coyotes zone and found Kane at the side of the net to tie the game at 3 with 6:03 left in the period.  This got the United Center humming.

Kyle Chipchura tried to get his team back into it, challenging the Hawks’ Jamal Mayers to a fight.  Not a lot of quality punches were thrown but the crowd was back and hungry for the win.

The Hawks regained the shot lead ending the second period 25-21 and tied at 3.

Ben Smith again opened the third period drawing a penalty sending the Hawks to their 3rd power play of the night.  The Hawks got a few chances to break the tie, but Mike Smith shut the door.  The third period saw the momentum change for both teams as there were multiple opportunities to score.

Duncan Keith retaliated on Torres with a slash after Torres tried to interfere with Keith in the offensive zone.  This would be the only Hawks penalty of the game.  With one of the worst Penalty kills in the league, but a league-best 5 shorthanded goals, the Hawks almost pulled off another as Mike Smith came out to play a puck which was gathered up by Bolland, he sent it over to Marian Hossa who has nothing but a defender and mesh between him to break the score and get his 400th career goal.  But Keith Yandle stopped the puck with his toe and the score stayed tied at 3.

Kane, Toews and Stalberg break in on a beautiful tic, tack, toe play that Stalberg sends wide of the goal.

60 minutes solves nothing, bring on the extra period.

In overtime, both teams get their chances to win the game.  However, both goalies stood strong and this one was heading to a shootout.

The Shootout saw Oliver Ekman-Larsson take his first ever shoot out attempt for the Coyotes.  He put a shot on net over Emery’s glove giving the Coyotes the lead.

Toews tried to go backhand over Smith, but Smith is there to close the door.

Vrbata does go backhand and beats Emery blocker side.

Hossa tries to go five hole on Smith but it does not get through.

The Hawks lose 4-3 in a shoot out but gained a single point.

Quick Hits:

-Jonathan Toews gets a point on all 3 goals and now leads the league with 17 goals and is tied for 2nd in points with 32.

-Toews also went 15 of 17 (88%) in the face off circle.

-Patrick Kane had 1 goal and 1 assist and now leads the league in assists with 22.

-The Hawks outshot the Coyotes 35-27

-Hawks went 1 for 3 on the power play.

-Duncan Keith led all Hawks with 30:39 TOI.

-Kane and Keith led the Hawks with 5 shots on net.

-Next up sees the Hawks visit the New York Islanders on Thursday night.  It will be another match up that the Hawks will see the same team within 6 nights after beating them in a shoot out on Friday night.

Brad Vandenberk

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