They were shut out Thursday, but Friday was a different day for the Blackhawks and a different result, topping the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 at the United Center.
“Last night we had the chances, but we couldn’t get to the net when we needed to,” said Kris Versteeg, who registered a goal and an assist on the night. “We haven’t been getting the bounces as of late, so it was nice to get one in. We’ve got the guys to do it, and we need those guys to step up.”
The Blackhawks’ power play unit, which was successful only once in its last 14 chances, scored an important goal in the second period, which gave the Blackhawks a two-goal cushion. The unit kept good pressure on Carey Price and the Canadiens all night, and generated a few good scoring chances for Chicago.
“I don’t know if it was a better effort, but we were bearing down a little bit more to outwork their goaltender,” said Patrick Sharp
. “We didn’t do that last night and that was the difference today. We just kept moving forward and stayed confident.”
But the night’s most timely goal – and the one that head coach Joel Quenneville called the biggest one of the year so far – was Sharp’s game-winner off a feed from Patrick Kane
to break the 2-2 tie late in the third period.
“Without sounding cocky or arrogant, we knew we were going to win this game if we kept working,” Sharp said. “[Kane] knew I was there, and we’ve done that a few times this season. He made a great pass.”
“We had a good response in a tight situation,” Quenneville said. “It’s 2-2 late in the third period and anything can happen. He made a very timely goal.”
With their next game not until Thursday in Phoenix, the Blackhawks now have six days to digest their performance and prepare for their first multi-game road trip since the NHL Premiere at the beginning of the month. With a solid win over a talented opponent, they can rest a little easier before their next contest.
“It’s nice to get some confidence going into the little break we have here,” Kane said. “It was huge for us.”
“We’ve got a whole week to think about this game,” Quenneville said. “We needed the two points, so we ended on a very positive note.”