ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Now that’s more like it.
The Chicago Blackhawks responded from their worst outing of the year to arguably produce their best. At least they did on the defensive end, limiting the Minnesota Wild to one goal just one night after giving the Edmonton Oilers whatever they wanted.
“I thought the approach was excellent,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Saturday’s 3-1 victory. “Right from the morning meeting, to before the game, to on the bench, on the ice -- lots of talk, lots of enthusiasm. Maybe that underdog spirit or that underdog look, sometimes you can overcome a lot when you dig in and have a purpose.”
That’s what a wake-up call like a 7-4 drubbing at the hands of the lowly Oilers will do. Give the Hawks credit, they didn’t sulk after the embarrassing home defeat.
“You wish it didn’t have to happen but obviously we can learn from it,” Jonathan Toews said.
So was this their best effort on defense?
“Absolutely,” Toews said. “We were smart on our side of the puck. Top to bottom, our forwards and defense, we didn’t skate through puck areas, we weren’t lazy. We played the right way.”
That they did, against a team that had been playing pretty well itself, but the Hawks gave them no room to maneuver, especially in the first two periods.
“Sometimes it helps not having your full lineup out there,” Marty Turco said. “You know you have to play more as a team.”
That was the consensus in the Hawks’ dressing room. They played as a team. And for Turco, it was a rebound game as well. Pulled the night before after giving up four goals on 12 shots, he wasn’t sure he would get the start against Minnesota and was thankful he did.
“It depends,” Turco admitted. “Sometimes you’re not feeling too well and you get yanked and you’re like ‘thank you for taking me out of there, so to speak.’ I don’t take it personal anymore. That’s the beauty of it all, but it is nice to get back out there the next night.”
If they could bottle this one up and take it to New York and beyond they would. But for now, they’re just satisfied with the quick turnaround from the night before.
“It was a great response,” Quenneville said. “Very businesslike. A real purpose to our game tonight. We were hard to play against.”
Now can they do for a second consecutive game? That would really be more like it.
Once again Patrick Sharp led the Hawks with five shots on net.
Nick Boynton was credited with six blocked shots, three more than any other Hawk.