Blackhawks steal one from Sharks

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
11:04
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said it right regarding his team’s two games against the San Jose Sharks this season.

[+] EnlargeRay Emery
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireRay Emery had 35 saves in Sunday's winning effort.

“You flip-flop these San Jose games, who was deserving to win?” he asked. “At the end of the game the two points probably deserving for each team [that lost].”

In other words, the Hawks didn’t deserve the 3-2 overtime win Sunday night -- they lost 1-0 in San Jose last month -- but they’ll take it. After being outshot 33-13 through two periods, how could anyone think they deserved a victory? But thanks to Ray Emery, the Hawks stayed close.

“I thought [Emery] was great tonight, he was huge, rebounds were controlled,” Quenneville said. “They put everything at the net, including bodies, and he fought through it all.”

Many players in the Hawks' dressing room echoed a similar theme saying, “he kept us in it with a couple of big stops,” and though Emery probably wanted the Sharks' second goal back -- Justin Braun put one through his legs -- the Hawks' netminder more than made up for it with a 35 save performance. It probably means another start, his third in a row, against the conference-leading Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

The tying goal

Patrick Sharp never performs his overtime magic without the Hawks tying the game with 1:06 to play in regulation. Emery was on the bench for the sixth attacker as the Hawks trailed 2-1.

Quenneville called timeout to set up a play. He and his coaches drew it up on the chalkboard and it worked to perfection.

“The coach showed us what to do and we did it exactly the way he liked it,” Marian Hossa said. “We won the face-off. Sharpie gives it to [Duncan Keith], Duncs gives it to me and I try to just one-time it. [Andrew Brunette] did a great job in front.”

It was Toews who won the face-off to start the sequence.

“We wanted to win the draw and get a shot on net and have guys going there,” he explained. “It was a good way to find our way back into that game.”

Brunette tipped it in, saying, “I just played my role which was going to the net.”

For Quenneville, it all started in one place.

“We like [Toews] in the draw area against anybody, they’re arguably the best team in the league on face-offs,” he said. “Johnny’s been excellent on draws all year.”

From chalkboard to face-off circle to the point to the net. A perfect play to keep the Hawks alive.

Slappers

• There was a scrum at the end of regulation which bloodied Duncan Keith’s nose and got Marian Hossa mad.

“I got a couple whacks,” Hossa said. “Somebody keeps hitting me from behind. I tried not to pay attention to that but the hits keep coming. I told him don’t be a coward, hitting from behind.”

The "coward" Hossa spoke of was Ryan Clowe of San Jose. No penalties were called.

• Ray Emery’s 35 saves were the most he has posted since Oct. 31, 2009 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Over his last five appearances, Emery has turned aside 103-of-109 shots good for a .945 save percentage.

• The Hawks tied a season-high with 34 hits. Viktor Stalberg had a team leading six.


Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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