Q's Mayers-Morrison swap pays off

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
12:00
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville stunned everyone by starting center Brendan Morrison in place of Jamal Mayers in Game 4 Thursday night. Mayers missed just one game this season and that was due to illness.

[+] EnlargeBrendan Morrison
Jonathan Daniel/ Getty ImagesBrendan Morrison scored the Hawks' first goal in the third period on Thursday.
“Brendan Morrison has been a good foot soldier,” Quenneville said. “He’s got some experience, got some playoff experience. It was a tough decision. I talked to Jamal Mayers today, it kind of hit him hard. Understandable because he’s been so competitive and so good for us all year.”

Morrison scored the Hawks’ first goal in the eventual 3-2 overtime loss on Thursday and said in one sense he was surprised he dressed for the game.

“Maybe surprised because the way I played hasn’t really been to anyone’s expectations,” he stated.

The goal was Morrison’s first point as a Hawk.

The 3-1 deficit: The Hawks are counting on experience to climb out of the hole they’re in.
“A lot of us in this room have been here before,” Jonathan Toews said. “We were down 3-0 last year. We didn’t go anywhere, we didn’t stop working.”

The Hawks trailed their series against the Vancouver Canucks but won the next three games only to lose in overtime of Game 7.

“Maybe could be 3-1 for us right now, but it’s not,” Corey Crawford said regarding four overtime games in the series. “Just have to keep playing hard, eventually it’s going our way.”

Slappers
• Morrison’s goal was his first in the playoffs since May 1, 2007 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

Brandon Saad had a quiet postseason debut. He didn’t handle the puck a lot but also didn’t hurt the Hawks either. The 19-year-old registered four hits and a plus-1 rating in 13:11 of ice time.

• The Hawks outshot the Coyotes 32-19.

• The Blackhawks set an NHL record with six consecutive overtime playoff games, stretching back to Game 6 of the 2010-11 Western Conference quarterfinals against Vancouver.

• Chicago and Phoenix became the second playoff series in NHL history to reach four consecutive overtime games. The 1951 Stanley Cup Final between Toronto and Montreal went to OT in five straight games.

Quotable
• "He’s a big reason why the series is 3-1 for them.”-- Morrison, on goalie Mike Smith.

• “It’s a tough road ahead of us. Look at the smaller picture.” -- Quenneville, on the prospects of coming back from a 3-1 deficit.

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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