CHICAGO - It wasn't exactly what Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was looking for after dropping two straight games, but he'll take the win regardless.
Another outstanding performance by goalie Marty Turco and Patrick Sharp's League-leading ninth goal in 10 games helped Chicago seal a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night in front of 20,667 at the United Center.
That's the good news.
The bad news - potentially very bad news - is that Marian Hossa, who leads the Hawks with 11 points, left the game after the second period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He was not on the bench to start the third.
Quenneville said Hossa will be re-examined on Thursday. He was asked if it was a potentially serious injury and reiterated that it would need to be re-examined. He also isn't sure how it happened.
"I know he came off there and I don't know if there was a direct blow, but we'll see what happened," Quenneville said.
Chicago (6-4-1) also got goals from fourth-line center Jake Dowell and Viktor Stalberg and got 33 saves by Turco - who helped make a 2-1 lead hold up for most of the second and third periods until Sharp scored with 2:05 remaining to put it away.
After Wednesday's skate, Quenneville talked about what he wanted to see from his forward lines - which he juggled completely while searching for a spark. He wanted better scoring depth and better defensive play in the Hawks zone.
In Quenneville's estimation, only one of those two goals were met - the scoring depth. Dowell scored his first goal of the season, while Stalberg's third gave Chicago a 2-1 lead 1:18 into the second.
"Both big goals for us and timely," Quenneville said. "(Turco) really had to keep us in the game there in the latter parts of that second period and in segments of the third. I thought he was real strong, as well."
As for that defensive play by the forwards?
"It's a work in progress," Quenneville said. "We can get better. That's not good enough for sure. They were throwing everything at the net. They weren't trying to make plays into the slot. They were looking for the jam stuff and Marty was very strong in those areas and very quick. That loose stuff around there is an area we can improve upon."
Especially in the third period. The Hawks were outshot 34-28, marking the sixth game in a row they were outshot, but the tally was 15-8 in the third. That just worsened the 119-82 margin Chicago was being outshot in the third coming into the game.
"It doesn't really bother me, (but) this group can also be better off with less shots against," said Turco, who improved to 5-1. "Hopefully we'll slowly bring that average down."
Justin Williams scored his third goal of the season for the Kings (6-3-0), who will play at Dallas on Thursday night. He scored at 9:34 of the first to tie it 1-1 after Dowell put the Hawks on top with a backhander that he chipped past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Bernier (25 saves).
Dowell took a nice drop pass by Fernando Pisani near the half wall in the Kings zone to spark the goal, which was Pisani's first point of the season. Duncan Keith also assisted on the goal and wound up with a pair of after earning one assisting on Stalberg's goal.
Los Angeles had a number of opportunities to tie it after Stalberg's goal, but couldn't get the puck past Turco.
"We had our chances," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "In the latter part of the second and early part of the third, there were excellent looks. They either had people in position or the goaltender made the stop. Sometimes you get second and third whacks at it, and it doesn't bounce the right way for you."
In their previous two games, both losses, the Hawks caved in the third during close games. This time, they got two points - which captain Jonathan Toews took as a positive sign.
"We've seen that situation a few times lately, especially in our own building," he said. "It's about time we play the right way. It wasn't pretty, but we got pucks out of dangerous areas when we had to, and kept them off the scoresheet in the third period. That's how you win hockey games."
|Jake Dowell (1) ASST: Fernando Pisani (1), Duncan Keith (4)|
1 - 0 CHI
|Justin Williams (3) ASST: Davis Drewiske (2), Peter Harrold (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Viktor Stalberg (3) ASST: Duncan Keith (5), Dave Bolland (2)|
2 - 1 CHI
|Patrick Sharp (9) ASST: Patrick Kane (6), Brent Seabrook (4)|
3 - 1 CHI
|Marian Hossa Hooking against Alexei Ponikarovsky|
|Ryan Smyth Hooking against Jonathan Toews|
|Matt Greene Slashing against Jonathan Toews|
|Nick Boynton Holding against Brad Richardson|
|Peter Harrold Tripping against Troy Brouwer|