Blackhawks do away with scoring droughts in win

"That will take a little weight off the shoulders," Brad Richards said of ending his 23-game drought. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the Chicago Blackhawks were going to pick two players to score Thursday, Brad Richards and Andrew Shaw would have been near the top of the list.

If the Blackhawks had to choose how those players scored, they would have preferred on the power play.

The Blackhawks didn't fill up the Arizona Coyotes' net as they had hoped, and while they scored only twice in a 2-1 victory, the team got goals from two players in an area that had been struggling recently.

Richards snapped a 23-game goalless drought and Shaw broke an 18-game one. As a team, Chicago scored its first power-play goal in 16 tries, and scored multiple power-play goals for the first time since Feb. 11.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was particularly pleased to finally see his power play produce. It had been an all-around disaster in recent games. From entries to zone time to shots to net-front presence, the Blackhawks were better Thursday, and they were rewarded twice for it.

"It was definitely needed and necessary," Quenneville said of the power play. "Tonight, it proved to be the difference. Very timely in the end and started as well. We did some good things. The best part of tonight was the power-play success."

That success began in the first period, when Shaw pounced on a loose puck in front of the net and knocked it past Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith -- his first goal since Jan. 28.

"I know it's been a while," Shaw said. "It feels great. As long as we're going out there playing good hockey, it doesn't matter who scores."

To add to Shaw's celebration, it also happened to be his father's birthday -- and his dad was in the stands for it.

Richards was also able to share a special moment with his dad in attendance. Richards' goal, which broke a 1-1 tie in the third period, was his first since Jan. 11 and also went down as his 900th NHL point.

Richards admitted the lack of scoring had been affecting him.

"It's obviously been a tough time," Richards said. "I don't think I've ever gone that long. That will take a little weight off the shoulders. Hopefully get some confidence here coming down the stretch."

The Blackhawks now hope they can build off Thursday. Their offense still isn't where they want it, and their 5-on-5 game has struggled.

Captain Jonathan Toews thought the victory was a step in the right direction, though.

"I think it's huge for us overall as a team," Toews said. "We got a lot of guys in here who can score on a regular basis. When you have individuals -- whoever it might be -- that go through some tough times and don't have that success that they want or are looking for, it definitely hurts your confidence, and it's hard to play the rest of the game, too, when things don't seem to click.

"It was nice to see Richie get a big one there at the end. And guys like that start scoring, I think it will start making the game a little bit easier on our team."