CHICAGO -- One by one they went to center ice with the idea of giving the Chicago Blackhawks the lead in the shootout against the Los Angeles Kings -- or even winning the game once it got past three shooters a side. But each Chicago player was denied or simply didn’t get off a shot in a 3-2 loss on Sunday night.
Talk about missing Jonathan Toews.
Toews, who has missed 10 games while recovering from a concussion, is one of the best in the league in shootouts, but the Hawks had to go with a makeshift group which included youngsters Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger.
“Our guy that we look to a lot wasn’t there tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We were deeper in the shootout than we’ve been in a while. Give guys opportunities. We practice it a lot.”
“In regulation I got the shot off that I wanted,” Stalberg said. “He didn’t really react to it, it just hit his last part of his pad. Did the move I wanted to and got the shot off.”
Stalberg had that rare opportunity for a second chance in the game.
“I was just excited to go in,” Stalberg said. “You have a chance to win it in the shootout. I like my backhand move and I like the way I got him to poke on it. He came up with a good glove. A little higher or a little lower, it’s probably a goal. … We have to find a way to win it there when [Ray Emery] keeps stopping pucks. Frustrating that we didn’t.”
Kane tried his slowdown move which helped win a game earlier this season, but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick wasn’t fooled.
“It’s frustrating,” Kane said. “Every next guy that’s coming up, you think the next guy is going to end it.”
Kane was then asked if the Hawks missed Toews in shootouts.
“That question can answer itself,” he said smiling.
Barring a setback, it won’t be long before Toews returns to the lineup. So while he was missed on Sunday, he won’t be for long. The Hawks are 5-4-1 without him.
Surviving, but barely.
Emery kept the Hawks in the game early, and then again late as he denied the first five shooters from Los Angeles in the shootout. That came after the Kings put 14 shots on him in the opening eight minutes of the game.
“That first period he was big,” Quenneville said. “He kept us in the game at an important time…We were lucky we weren’t down two there with that start we had.”
Emery has emerged as the man in net for the Hawks as they march towards the playoffs. There are no shootouts in the postseason, but every stop is undoubtedly a confidence builder, whether it comes in the first period or in overtime.
“This is a great place to play, the team plays really well in this building,” Emery said. “More often than not we’re going to get our goals, and as far as my part goes, I just need to play solid in there for the guys.”
He’s done that at the United Center this season where he boasts a 10-0-2 mark after Sunday’s shootout loss. That bodes well for the playoffs -- at least when the Hawks play at home. He’s 5-9 on the road.
Hossa earned his 40th assist of the season on Kane’s third-period goal. It’s the most helpers he’s had since 2006-07 when he posted a career-high 57.
Stalberg led the Hawks with seven shots on net in just 11:39 of ice time. He had six shots in the third period alone.
Kruger tallied his ninth goal of the year and is fifth among Western Conference rookies in scoring, but won just 2 of 12 faceoffs.
“You want to take it upon yourself, especially me, scoring the first one, and you don’t have to go that far.” -- Kane, on his opening miss in the shootout.