Sunday, November 17, 2013
Blackhawks bounce back against Sharks
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t enter the team’s dressing room prior to Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks and jump into some long-winded speech about losing by five goals the night before.
Quenneville kept it simple.
"I didn’t say much, but I pointed it out, though," Quenneville said.
Reminding the Blackhawks they had fallen 7-2 to the Nashville Predators on Saturday was more than enough motivation for his players on Sunday. They understood what had to be done.
The Blackhawks responded by putting together a team effort and routing the Sharks, one of the league’s premier offensive and defensive teams, 5-1 at the United Center.
"I don’t know if we wanted to make a statement to anybody," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. "It was more to prove to ourselves last night wasn’t good enough. We were all embarrassed. Thankfully, we had a short turnaround and get out there and play again. We’re happy with the way we responded.
"The one thing we did talk about was our compete level, our battle level could be much higher than it was in Nashville. It was tonight. It was a big difference why we won."
Sharp’s offensive contribution would end up being a major reason for that turnaround on Sunday, but the Blackhawks’ win was first triggered by their defense.
The Sharks entered the game averaging a league-best 3.5 goals per game. On Sunday, they couldn’t match that number because the Blackhawks’ defensemen gave them little space and time to get shots on net. They were held to nine shots on goal in the first period, five in the second period and 10 in the third. It was just the third time this season the Sharks were held to less than 25 shots on goal.
"That was a great effort from our D, our forwards coming back," said Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who made 23 saves. “Our D started it all. We didn’t give them too much. That was a great game defensively. Just carried into the offense later when they were trying to press and get some goals. We opened up the game and pretty much finished it at the end.”
That finish included four goals over the game’s final 30 minutes. Sharp scored twice, and Jonathan Toews and Kris Versteeg each tallied a goal.
Overall, it was exactly what Quenneville was looking for after Saturday’s lopsided loss.
"We’re pleased," Quenneville said. "I know last night wasn’t indicative of how we played any game all year. It was one of those games, whether we were looking for an easy game or didn’t have the energy or we didn’t play Blackhawk-type hockey. We got outworked.
"I thought we were better each and every period. I think we tried to limit their time and space and try to kill their attack game, and our attack game got better as the game went on as well. I thought it was pretty solid. A nice bounce back after a tough night."