Saturday, November 9, 2013
Hawks notes: Back-to-back success story
By Todd Wills
DALLAS, Texas -- The schedule-makers have the Chicago Blackhawks playing their third away and then home back-to-back in 13 days with a Saturday night game in Dallas against the Stars followed by Sunday’s game at the United Center against the Edmonton Oilers.
If it has to be one way, winger Patrick Kane said he prefers it this way, even when a trip to the White House -- which the Blackhawks made Monday -- comes after back-to-back games.
“I’d rather play on the road the first game, to be honest with you, then coming home for the second game,” Kane said. “Last week was tougher because after the home game you’re going to the White House and flying to Washington and getting a couple of hours of sleep and we had the big day at the White House. That was a little bit different.
“This team in general has been pretty good in back-to-back situations ever since I’ve been here. I don’t know whether it’s we’re a young team or we roll four lines or we have a lot of depth. Whatever it may be, we never seem to struggle in those situations, so hopefully we can say that now.”
The Blackhawks are 5-0-1 in back-to-back games this season, winning the first game all three times. In these road-home back-to-backs, they’ve won at Minnesota and at Winnipeg.
Crawford in net:Corey Crawford gets the start in goal Saturday night against the Stars. The Blackhawks goaltender for Sunday is undecided between Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Quenneville wasn’t too worried about Sunday’s goalie or looking too far ahead.
“One thing with us, we’re playing today’s game,” Quenneville said. “We’re not going to be worried about the second game.
"But hopefully we can spread the ice time across the board and play tomorrow’s game tomorrow.”
Brookbank gets another start: Defenseman Sheldon Brookbank earned another start at right wing Saturday night after getting his first start earlier this week in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg. Twenty-two-year-old Jeremy Morin is scratched, perhaps as a message that he needs to play a two-way game.
Brookbank will be on the third line with Marcus Kruger and Bryan Bickell. Kane said the 33-year-old defenseman handled himself well Wednesday.
“He did a great job as far as swinging into guys and taking the puck away, forcing guys to dump the puck,” Kane said. “And he made some nice chips against the wall and got the puck in. I’m sure they recognize that and want to give him another shot at it.”
Brookbank was asked Saturday morning if it’s difficult to know what to do when the game comes down to instincts as a winger.
“It’s a little foreign,” he said. “You have to think a little bit, but you get a good perspective of the game and kind of see things from the whole play in front of you. I do pay attention to what forwards are doing. I try to pay attention, so it is a little bit of thinking.
Briefly: Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who left practice Friday with an upper body injury, was good to go Saturday and will start. ... The Blackhawks were 3-0 against the Stars last year and outscored them 16-5.