Hawks feeling lucky on way to Vegas


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Chicago Blackhawks admitted they felt fortunate after a bad loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

With a two-day break in Las Vegas looming, no one wanted to head to Sin City on such a down note. So they were glad to have a chance to immediately redeem themselves, and boy, did they.

“It wouldn’t have been a good day to go to Las Vegas after [Friday’s] game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s amazing what the turnaround was. It was exactly what we were hoping for.”

A 7-1 drubbing of the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday made up for the 7-2 loss to the Flames the previous night. Amazing sounds about right.

“Yeah, this is a first for me,” Patrick Sharp said after the game. “It was a great response from our team after what happened in Calgary. Thank goodness we had an opportunity to erase that game [on Friday] so quickly.”

It was a thorough effort that started on defense. The Hawks allowed few scoring chances in the first period while killing off two Vancouver penalties without giving up a shot. Then they went to work on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and this time, after scoring first, they never looked back.

“It’s just good to come back and get another shot at another game,” Duncan Keith said. “I think sometimes it’s a game of momentum. We lost the momentum last game. We probably didn’t do anything to get it back, which is the most disappointing. Tonight we kept the momentum all the way through.”

And in doing so, the Hawks proved they can turn it on in a similar fashion to last season. After a slew of close games in the first quarter of the season, they’ve opened the road trip with three blowouts. Two for, and one against.

“Usually you don’t expect these games either way and to have them in our last three is pretty interesting,” Patrick Kane said. “There is not going to be many more of these games for sure.”

How can he be so sure? In a season that is as unpredictable as the sport they play, the Hawks can at least feel good about this effort.

They should enjoy Las Vegas while they can because the road trip is far from over and far from predictable.


Brouwer excels:Playing in front of his father for the first time since his dad took ill last year, Troy Brouwer scored a highlight-reel goal while registering five shots and two hits. He was second on the team in both categories.

“I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever moved in my life,” Brouwer said of his rush around defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. “I just saw a little bit of a lane outside and coach has been wanting me to take the puck to the net hard for a little while and I just figured I might as well.

“[My dad’s] been looking forward to this game for quite a while. He’s been talking about it like it’s a Christmas present I guess. It was great to have him here tonight. I was glad I was able to get him a goal.”

Spread-out scoring: 10 of 13 forwards earned a point for the Hawks while 13 total players appeared on the scoresheet. Niklas Hjalmarsson earned his first point of the season with an assist on Brouwer’s goal.

Plus/Minus: Every Hawk earned a plus in the game. The Hawks scored six even-strength goals.

Milestones and anniversaries: Kane became the second youngest Hawk in team history to record 250 points. Only Denis Savard has done it quicker. … Team President John McDonough took over the Blackhawks three years ago Saturday.