Friday, November 25, 2011
Hawks stick with it, and it pays off
By Jesse Rogers
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- There is an old saying in hockey when you’re playing well but aren’t getting results: Stick with it.
It becomes harder to trust the longer you go without good things happening but eventually the payoff should come. It finally did for the Chicago Blackhawks as they stormed back from three two-goal deficits to beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-5 on Friday.
Patrick Sharp recorded his second career hat trick on Friday.
The wild affair included a four-goal third period by the Hawks.
“That was a fun period,” Patrick Sharp said. “Credit to our team for sticking with it. That’s five good periods we played, and we weren’t being rewarded with the score we like.”
Sharp was rewarded in the form of his second career hat trick, and the Hawks were finally rewarded with a win after three consecutive losses. Playing well and losing is even harder to stomach when two earlier defeats saw the Hawks playing very bad defensive hockey.
Play bad and lose. Play well and lose. Frustration never seeped into the equation.
“We talked going into the third period it was going to feel good battling back and clawing to get back in the game,” Sharp said. “Good teams don’t change the way they play whether it's 4-0, for or against, and we did that.”
Why did the Hawks believe they were playing well despite trailing 4-2 after two periods? How about outshooting the opposition 17-5 in the middle period.
“I thought we had some of the best A-plus chances you’re ever going to have later in that second period but to lose that period 1-0 [was tough],” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We started the third with the same kind of pressure on them. Nice to see us bury those quality chances.”
Nothing said the Hawks were going to get rewarded, but after playing well enough for five periods going back to a 1-0 loss to San Jose on Wednesday, the odds were in their favor.
“The breaks we knew were going to come,” said Jonathan Toews, who had two goals and three assists. “We just have to limit a few little mistakes here.”
Those mistakes came early in the game when the Hawks got down 2-0 and they do count against the overall performance but 50 or so minutes of good hockey should outweigh a few minutes of bad. It didn’t on Wednesday but Friday it did, finally.
“We were [ticked],” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “We can’t lose four in a row. That was a huge win for us today.”
And the victory boosted morale going into the final game on the circus road trip.
“Huge,” Quenneville said. “Guys are excited. We have a chance to get to .500 on this trip. The last two we’re right back on track.”