After a middling effort against St. Louis Friday night, the road-weary Blackhawks found their stride again Saturday in front of the home crowd and defeated Dallas 6-2.
“It was a good feeling to be at home, “ said Jonathan Toews
, who scored a goal and added two assists in the win. “To have the crowd cheer after we score was different. In a way, the trip’s not over, but it was nice to be back here and play in front of our fans again.”
The Hawks clearly fed off the energy from the crowd, and got off to the fast start that they had been looking for in their last few games.
“Whether we are on the road or at home, I think we wanted to get back to the way we had been playing,” Toews said. “Tonight we had a better start and got more chances. In the first period, that was the start that we needed.”
Home or away, the resilient Hawks have mostly avoided losing streaks this season. In 54 games, the team’s longest losing streak has been three games in a row, and the team has never gone three games without earning at least one point.
“We know that once we lose one game, we have to come back the next game with more intensity,” Dave Bolland
said. “Losing two or three games in a row is unacceptable.”
Loss of Sharp Tough to Overcome: Despite the victory, the Hawks suffered a big loss when Patrick Sharp went down with a lower body injury following a hit by Dallas’ Steve Ott. Head coach Joel Quenneville says that Sharp is unlikely to travel with the team to Tampa Bay on Monday, but did not elaborate any further.
“It’s scary when that happens,” Toews said. “Your heart skips a beat when he doesn’t get up right away. I had the same feeling when Duncan Keith got hurt. [Sharp’s] a part that we definitely need in our lineup, but we’ll have to step up our game if he’s out. Obviously, we look forward to having him back as soon as possible.”
“It’s going to be tough if we’re without him for a while,” said Bolland. “He’s a key part of our lineup and it’s hard to lose him. We have to have guys take on other roles, and there are guys on this team who can do that.”
Quenneville says, however, that he thinks the Hawks responded well after the injury and used their depth to earn the ‘w.’
“Fluky injuries can happen, but our guys responded well tonight,” he said. “We mixed up the lines a little bit, and we had a lot of jump in our team game. Everybody was part of the win.”