Blackhawks give Emery rough homecoming with 7-2 pounding
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff reporter December 11, 2013 10:04PM
Updated: December 19, 2013 10:34PM
Corey Crawford, Nikolai Khabibulin, Antti Raanta, Kent Simpson, Ed Belfour, Murray Bannerman, Tony Esposito — if the Blackhawks keep scoring like this, it might not even matter who’s in goal.
The Hawks offense continued to set the game of hockey back 30 years — back when goal scorers roamed the Earth — by beating ex-teammate Ray Emery five times on just 10 second-period shots in a 7-2 trouncing of the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
It was the 13th time in the last 25 games that the Hawks scored at least five goals, and their third straight with at least six goals, both staggering statistics in the age of defense and goaltending. The Hawks last scored six times in three straight games on Jan. 24, 1993.
“I was impressed when I played here four years ago, and I was impressed watching them over the last four years,” said Kris Versteeg, who had a goal and an assist, one of five Hawks with at least two points. “The amount of guys that can score and create something out of nothing.”
Seven different players scored, and 13 different players recorded a point for the Hawks, who have won their last three games — since Crawford was injured in the first period against Florida on Sunday — by a combined score of 19-6. Emery allowed six goals on 18 shots before finally being pulled early in the third.
Raanta, making his second start in as many nights, had no trouble making seven goals stand up. He finished with 28 saves, including back-to-back brilliant stops on shorthanded breakaways in the third period — “Just trying to keep him on his toes,” Jonathan Toews joked. The rookie is now 5-0-1.
“I don’t think we need to make it easier on him,” Andrew Shaw said. “He’s a great goalie.”
The game was generously branded a “rivalry” by NBC, hearkening back to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. While any bad blood left over from that series surely has faded, the Flyers did their best to create some more. Wayne Simmonds took a run at Duncan Keith less than two minutes in, prompting Sheldon Brookbank to fight him. Brayden Schenn delivered a two-handed cross-check to Versteeg’s head in the second period, a hit that went without a penalty but surely will get a look from the league. And Scott Hartnell shoved Toews into the net after Toews scored later in the second.
And once the game was out of hand, the Flyers imploded, taking six third-period penalties, twice giving the Hawks 5-on-3 power plays. That was fine with Emery.
“I want to play with sore losers,” he said. “I don’t want to play with guys who are content with a game like that.”
The Hawks responded to it all by scoring at will. Trailing 1-0 after a slow and sloppy first period, the Hawks took over in the second. Keith, Shaw, Michal Handzus (shorthanded), Versteeg and Toews all scored in the period, badly spoiling Emery’s return to the United Center.
“When you’re playing a game, you’re not really worried who you’re against,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “You just want to score.”
By the time Brent Seabrook’s broken-stick shot from the blue line went in 65 seconds into the third period, the Hawks had beaten Emery six times in an 11-shot span. Sharp (one goal, two assists) later added a power-play goal on a 5-on-3 for the final margin. Marian Hossa chipped in three assists, and Patrick Kane had two assists, giving him points in seven straight games and 19 of 20.
“It’s been a nice little run here, a couple games in a row with a lot of goals,” said Sharp, who has four goals and four assists in the last three games. “We always know that we’ve got guys that can score in here. When we play well in all areas, we create chances. And right now, the puck’s just going in.”