Not even fatigue can stop the Chicago Blackhawks
Despite playing for the third time in four nights, Marian Hossa
scored twice and Antti Niemi made 22 saves as the Blackhawks cruised to a 5-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks
at the United Center on Sunday.
Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Jonathan Toews
also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won three in a row and 12 of 15. With 61 points, Chicago is tied atop the NHL standings with the San Jose Sharks.
"We've got more guys involved, and we just keep rolling," Hossa said. "We got a huge win."
Petteri Nokelainen scored both goals for Anaheim, which came 1:19 apart late in the third period. Niemi was seeking his fifth shutout in 11 starts this season.
''He stopped me a couple of times in the first,'' Nokelainen said. ''I have to bear down and bury those chances early. When it's a 5-0 game, it really doesn't matter much.''
"He stood on his head a few times," Blackhawks forward John Madden said of Niemi. "It could have been 2-0 them, easily. He played great. It's unfortunate that we let him down and they got two late ones."
Versteeg broke a scoreless tie with his 12th goal of the season 6:21 into the second period. With the teams at even strength, Versteeg got around the defense, took a feed from Madden and roofed a shot over Jean-Sebastien Giguere (23 saves) as Chicago took a 1-0 lead.
Brouwer's doubled Chicago's lead with 4:15 left in the second off a feed from Patrick Kane
, who extended his points streak to eight games with the assist. Kane has seven goals and seven assists during the impressive run.
''We had our fair share of chances,'' Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. ''We had 2-on-1s, hit the posts and had scoring opportunities. He (Niemi) made some big stops, but we didn't do enough to force him.''
Hossa made it 4-0 with a pair of goals in the first 3:41 of the third period. His first tally of the night came at the 1:14 mark before adding a power-play tally. It was his seventh and eighth goals of the season. Toews put Chicago up by five when he redirected Kane's feed past Giguere at 13:50.
"He's had some opportunities, and it's nice to see some production there," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Hossa. "I'm not worried about who's doing the scoring, as long as we're getting some production there. We've been getting some offense across the board, but it's nice to see him get a couple."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.