Youngsters’ scoring spree vs. Sharks energizes entire team
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 7, 2013 9:41PM
Chicago Blackhawks v Phoenix Coyotes
Updated: March 10, 2013 6:40AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — At the end of one period Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., the score was Sharks 3, Rockford IceHogs 3.
Well, recent Rockford alums,
The Hawks kept pace with one of the most high-powered teams in the league with help from their next generation of talent, proving there’s scoring depth beyond the Big Four of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
In an 89-second span against the Sharks, the Hawks got goals from 20-year-old rookie Brandon Saad (the first of his career), 21-year-old Andrew Shaw and 22-year-old Marcus Kruger.
‘‘It’s great to see different guys scoring,’’ Hossa said. ‘‘It’s just great for everybody’s confidence; it’s just great for the team. When top guys don’t score the goals, there’s somebody [else] that can step in for them. We just spread the power all over the team, and it’s nice to see.’’
Saad has been playing on the top line with Hossa and Toews, so he certainly is expected to produce. But for Shaw, the third-line center, and Kruger, the fourth-line center, their roles are more defensive. For them to contribute offensively is a bonus — one the Hawks sorely needed after scoring only three goals in their previous eight periods (including three overtimes).
‘‘In a big game like that, those goals were big,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We got off to a funny start there. You get contributions from those guys, it can be the difference.
‘‘Their play’s been fine, [but] sometimes you don’t have the production to reflect it. In Saader’s case, the same type of thing. We don’t care who scores or who makes plays, but we expect everyone to be able to contribute offensively at some point. But let’s make sure we’re all playing the same way defensively.’’
Emery on board
Four days removed from a spectacular 45-save performance against the Calgary Flames, Ray Emery was back in goal Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
‘‘Ray’s coming off a tremendous game,’’ Quenneville said after the morning skate. ‘‘He played here last time, and we won. We think he deserves a chance to get back in.’’
Emery actually struggled against the Coyotes in the Hawks’ second game of the season Jan. 20.
He allowed four goals on 29 shots and struggled to corral the puck. Fortunately for him, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith struggled more and yielded six goals, allowing the Hawks to pull out the victory.
Quenneville said there’s no master plan for scheduling his goalies.
‘‘We don’t go too far in advance, but I’m sure the performance the other night made it easier,’’ he said.
Brandon Bollig, who has been practicing with a bandage on his right hand since his fight with the Flames’ Tim Jackman, was a scratch.
Jamal Mayers, who fought Raffi Torres in the early going, was on the fourth line for the third consecutive game.
Defenseman Michal Rozsival was a healthy scratch.