Viktor Stalberg closes in on 20-goal ‘achievement’
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org March 18, 2012 10:04PM
Viktor Stalberg (right) notched his 18th goal — his second in three games — in the first period. | Bill Smith~Getty Images
Updated: April 20, 2012 8:15AM
Viktor Stalberg’s first-period goal Sunday against the Washington Capitals was his 18th of season.
The goal was Stalberg’s second in three games after he was held scoreless in the previous 10 and tied him with Dave Bolland for fifth on the Blackhawks.
Stalberg has nine games left to reach the 20-goal plateau, which coach Joel Quenneville said before the game was quite an accomplishment when he played and might be more meaningful today.
“It’s a tough number to acquire in the league,” Quenneville said. “He doesn’t get a lot of power-play time, so you’ve got to give him some credit that he’s scoring some big goals 5-on-5. You like his speed, and he’s been a threat off the rush, as well. In the zone, he’s been taking the puck to the net more. He’s improving his overall game, as well, so that [would be] quite an achievement.”
Hot at the dot
In addition to his grit, durability and — most recently — presence on the power play, veteran center Jamal Mayers has picked up his game in the faceoff circle.
The fourth-line center has won 65 of 118 (55.1 percent) at the dot since Jonathan Toews (concussion) and his considerable faceoff skills left the lineup. That’s in line with his 54.6 percent average on the season.
But Mayers has upped his performance on draws recently, claiming 25 of 37 (67.6 percent) in the four games before Sunday. He won eight of 10 against the Capitals.
“I’m getting an opportunity to take important draws, which I take pride in. I like being in those situations, and that’s something I’ve worked really hard on,” Mayers said.
Toews missed his 13th consecutive game with a concussion Sunday, and Quenneville said the Hawks’ captain hasn’t skated since Wednesday, when he suffered a setback in his recovery.
“That’s where we’re at with it,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see [Monday] how close he is to getting back on the ice. The last few days I would say he’s trending in the right way.”
Blast from the past
Capitals coach Dale Hunter, who replaced Bruce Boudreau in November, coached Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane in the Ontario Hockey League and was a brief teammate and frequent competitor with Quenneville.
“I’ve got a lot of compliments [from Hunter] right here under my chin. He was a beauty,” Quenneville said.
Hanging it up
All four on-ice officials wore No. 47 in honor of linesman Dan Schachte, who officiated his final game in an almost 30-year career.