Fast start would help Hawks
BEN MEYER-ABBOTT ON THE blackhawks March 19, 2011 12:18AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The good news is the Blackhawks woke up this morning in the same place in the standings as when they went to bed.
But given the shellacking they took from the Dallas Stars on Thursday, you wonder how much they slept.
Jonathan Toews, for one, said Thursday he wasn’t interested in immediately wiping the 5-0 Dallas debacle from his memory ahead of Sunday’s game at the Phoenix Coyotes.
“We shouldn’t forget about this one too quick,” Toews told reporters. “We’ll definitely remind ourselves of how bad we were and how disappointing our performance was [Thursday] in the next one.
“Those are two points that we pretty much gave away.”
The biggest thing for the Hawks will be to put a stop to the first-period woes that have afflicted them since their eight-game winning streak. The team has been outscored 10-3 in the first in their last five games, four of which were losses.
On Thursday, the Hawks stumbled out of the gate again — getting outmuscled by the Stars, who outhit them 13-3 in the first period.
“We just weren’t very good, right from the start,” Brent Seabrook said. “We didn’t come out hungry enough. Top to bottom, we just weren’t very good.”
The Hawks’ transition defense was a concern as Corey Crawford was left out to dry on a breakaway and two odd-man rushes for the three goals he surrendered before being pulled in the second in favor of Marty Turco.
It was surprising because the team prides itself on getting back and preventing those situations.
“Over the course of the year, you might have some games you throw in the garbage can and you don’t see happening or you don’t foresee happening. [That] was definitely one of them,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We should all share some responsibility of how bad we were, knowing we can’t let it happen again.”
Gaining two points Sunday against the Coyotes will be vitally important because two of the teams chasing the Hawks — the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Ducks — play each other Sunday, as well.
That means that the Hawks, with 84 points, need to win to avoid possibly being overtaken for seventh by the Flames (83 points) or giving up ground to the Ducks (81).
“The reality is what it is,” Turco said. “We’re going to be in the desert a couple days to dwell on it.”
What the Hawks come up with will go a long way toward determining their fate.
NOTES: Jake Dowell, who has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and is plus-6 in his first full season, recently was given a vote of confidence when he was installed as the third-line center and assigned to match up against the opponent’s top line.
“The one thing about Jake, he gives you game-in, game-out predictability in his game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It looks like [he’s getting more] quality ice time or quantity ice time, but we still want him to be that type of guy who’s a reliable, dependable, checking type of guy.”
◆ The Hawks were off Friday but will practice today. They are expected to provide updates on the statuses of defenseman Brian Campbell (lower-body injury), center Dave Bolland (concussion) and winger Bryan Bickell (illness).