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Seven Blackhawks score in win against Flyers

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have officially kicked their offense into high gear.

Even with their top two goalies sidelined with injuries, the Blackhawks have three straight blowout victories to their credit after routing the Philadelphia Flyers 7-2 Wednesday night at United Center.

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery was the latest to get a firsthand look at the Blackhawks' powerful offense, when six different players scored against him on 18 shots. Patrick Sharp (one goal, two assists) became the seventh Blackhawks player to score when he beat Steve Mason at 9:33 of the third to cap a power play and push it to a five-goal margin.

"I don't think it's something we ever talk about," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said of his team's firepower. "I think it's just that quiet confidence knowing that we have the ability to score goals and generate offense."

After defeating the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars by identical 6-2 scores Sunday and Tuesday, Chicago (23-6-5) scored five times in the second to continue its offensive tear against the Flyers (13-15-3).

Keith, Andrew Shaw, Michal Handzus, Kris Versteeg, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Sharp scored for the Blackhawks. Rookie goalie Antti Raanta, playing in place of injured goalies Corey Crawford (lower body) and Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body), made 28 saves.

Along with Sharp's three-point night, Marian Hossa finished with three assists and Patrick Kane picked up two assists to bring him within a point of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead (43-42).

The Blackhawks also improved their record against Eastern Conference teams to 9-0-2 and 4-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division.

"We just stuck to our game," Shaw said. "They [started] running around and I think we took the game over. We've got a lot of skilled players, a lot of players who want to play and a lot of guys who are going to work and go to those gritty areas and find those greasy goals. We're working together as a team right now and everybody's contributing."

Jakub Voracek and Steve Downie scored for Philadelphia.

Raanta improved to 5-0-1 with the win. He made a number of solid saves, but his efforts to thwart breakaways by Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl in the third, separated by 20 seconds, were his best Wednesday.

"I don't think we need to make it easier on him," Shaw said. "He's a great goalie. He's held us in games when we've needed him to, and he's done great for us."

Chicago led the NHL in goals scored (122) and topped the League with 13 games of five or more. The 14th happened after the Blackhawks logged six shots in the first period and trailed 1-0.

The Flyers outskated the Blackhawks in the first and got the game's first goal by capitalizing on one of two power plays. Voracek beat Raanta to the far side of the net at 12:31 with a shot from the right circle for his fifth goal of the season and second in as many games.

It added to the season-long frustrations for the Blackhawks while shorthanded. Chicago came into the game having killed 10 of 10 power plays in wins against the Panthers and Stars, but was ranked last in the NHL in penalty killing on home ice (69.8 percent).

"I guess we shouldn't talk about [it] going into the game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I know today we were talking about [having] two successful games in a row, and it ends up right off the bat we're chasing it."

Chicago answered in the second period and took a 5-2 lead into the third.

Keith, Shaw, Handzus, Versteeg and Toews beat Emery in a variety of ways to turn a defensive-oriented game into another scoring bonanza.

The goals by Keith and Shaw came 39 seconds apart, each on a power play, and gave the Blackhawks the lead 1:22 into the second. Keith scored his second of the season off a shot from the left point, and Shaw beat Emery with a wraparound he slid into the far side of the net.

Handzus made it 3-1 at 5:27 of the second by directing a pass from Marcus Kruger past Emery to cap a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush. Downie brought the Flyers to within 3-2 at 6:11 with a power-play goal before Versteeg and Toews scored to make it 5-2.

"We go into the second with the lead and, just kind of a funny one, I’ve got to make a save and pucks are kind of bouncing around a bit," Emery said. "But you can’t make excuses. As a whole, we've got to play better in the second."

Versteeg ripped a snap shot into the top right corner off a feed by Brandon Saad below the goal line at 9:44 for a 4-2 lead, and Toews was credited with his goal at 14:15 when Sharp blasted a slapper off Toews' left arm into the net.

"Well, he missed the one the shift before, when I passed it to him ... he missed it on purpose, so I tried to hit him with that one," Sharp said, jokingly. "That was a big goal for Johnny. That's a typical Jonathan Toews goal, driving the net, getting hit with the puck and scoring a goal."

Seabrook's goal, scored off a slap shot from the blue line, is the one that chased Emery. He was replaced by Mason and proceeded to watch his teammates get called for six more penalties before the final horn sounded.

"You're going to be frustrated [with a game like that]," Emery said. "It's the old saying, 'You show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser.' I want to play with sore losers. I don't want guys who are content playing like that."

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