Blackhawks popular but unproductive in 2-0 loss to Coyotes
BY MARK POTASH February 7, 2014 10:48PM
Phoenix Coyotes' Keith Yandle (3) tries to keep the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa (81) during the first period in an NHL hockey game, Friday Feb. 7, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Updated: February 8, 2014 12:14AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — A sell-out crowd dominated by Blackhawks fans who stood and cheered throughout the national anthem and booed when Jonathan Toews was knocked to the ice made the Hawks feel at home at Jobing.com Arena on Friday night.
They never were able to use it to their advantage though, as bad penalties, bad breaks and missed opportunities proved costly in a 2-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Keith Yandle scored on a power play 1:09 into the game — seven seconds after Brandon Bollig was called for tripping — and Radim Vrbata scored on a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period to end the otherwise-invigorating six-game road trip (3-1-2) on a sour note for the Hawks (35-11-14).
‘‘We didn’t seem to have that energy level that we’ve had,’’ Toews said. ‘‘It’s a long road trip, a lot of travel. Sometimes you come out flat. We got better as the game went along. But every time we got momentum, we seemed to take a penalty and put ourselves in a tough spot. Against a defensive team like that, you’re not going to be able to play catch-up.’’
After falling behind 2-0, the Hawks — with partisans in the crowd of 17,525 chanting, ‘‘Let’s go, Hawks!’’ — had enough opportunities. Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw had point-blank shots in the third period. But Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith (29 saves) stymied the Hawks at every turn. A late power-play opportunity fizzled.
‘‘Disappointing game,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We battled back. [Smith] made some saves on us in the latter half of the game. Can’t start like that. We put ourselves in a hole right off the bat.’’
The 5-on-3 disadvantage and goal by Vrbata rankled the Hawks. Brandon Saad was called for goaltender interference when he crashed into Smith on an offensive rush, and Michael Rozsival was called for unsportsmanlike conduct in the scrum that followed it.
‘‘I didn’t like the whole sequence of events,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘I didn’t like the call at all, the three calls — or non-calls.’’
Crawford argued for interference on Vrbata’s goal, to no avail.
‘‘I got hit, but I don’t know,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘It’s [the referee’s] decision. . . . We just have to get over it and keep playing.’’