Blackhawks hope four-goal period is sign of good things to come
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter January 30, 2014 8:16PM
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:09PM
LAS VEGAS — For the better part of January, the Blackhawks couldn’t find the offensive knockout blow that has become the signature of their talent-laden roster.
It wasn’t that they were going through a monthlong offensive drought, but they weren’t turning in the overwhelming periods they used to put games away earlier in the season.
The Hawks finally got that back in a 5-2 victory Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks, scoring four goals in the second period. It was the most goals they had scored in a period since notching four in the third
period Jan. 3 against the New Jersey Devils.
The Hawks finished January with only five victories in 14 games, but it appears they have regained their mojo heading into February.
‘‘We had a great momentum swing in the second period, scoring four goals like that,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘I think the biggest thing we’ve had trouble with lately is not having those moments where we’re playing well.
‘‘Confidence is always there, and we know what we’re capable of as a team. Sometimes things don’t go well for you, and when you don’t get the results, it’s
not always easy to get through it.’’
Not surprisingly, the outburst was ignited when the Hawks’ struggling power play found the net. Marian Hossa’s power-play goal at 6:30 of the second broke a streak of nine unsuccessful man-advantage opportunities dating to the Hawks’ game Jan. 22 in Detroit.
More important, it ignited a run of three goals in 4:17. Brandon Saad scored at 9:29 and Toews at 10:47. Patrick Sharp added the Hawks’ fourth goal of the period at 14:11.
‘‘Nice play on our power play against a good team and their penalty-killing unit,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘I think that’s what we needed to get some offense, and it kind of ignited our win.’’
An offensive outburst like that made it easy for the Hawks to close out the game. In fact, despite playing the second game of a back-to-back, defenseman Duncan Keith said he thought most of the Hawks felt better against the Canucks than they had in an overtime loss Tuesday to the Calgary Flames. They didn’t appear tired in the third period.
‘‘We played really well all game,’’ goalie Corey Crawford said. ‘‘That was a fast-paced game, something we’re used to. Our speed was definitely there, and it seemed like we were putting the puck in the right place when the game was on the line.’’
For Quenneville, it was the kind of game he emphasized the Hawks had to play to win on this road trip. He wanted consistency on all four lines and got it against the
Canucks. Even the fourth line got into the act offensively, with Brandon Bollig being credited with six shots.
‘‘That line was great,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘That line, it’s been good for a long stretch of time. They don’t even need to be productive offensively to reflect how well they’ve played because we start them out in our end and they usually end up in their end. But they had some high-quality chances.’’