It would be very hard to find a negative in the Blackhawks’ Tuesday win over the Coyotes, which took them to 3-1-1 on the season.
The Hawks dominated the puck for nearly the entire game, didn’t give up many scoring chances, and didn’t allow the Coyotes to do much of anything on their power play.
Despite the fact that the Blackhawks controlled the puck and the pace throughout the game, the two sides stayed close throughout most of this one, on the scoreboard.
Marian Hossa opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 for the Hawks. It would be their only power play goal of the night, despite several chances. Less than a minute into the second period, Taylor Pyatt tied it up for Phoenix on a soft goal thanks to a Corey Crawford rebound.
The Hawks would grab the lead in the second, as Jonathan Toews put home a rebound goal of his own, but the lead wouldn’t last. After a Chicago turnover, Ray Whitney skated in and lofted the puck over Crawford’s glove for the equalizer. Minutes later, Duncan Keith would rip a point shot, which was deflected by Jamal Mayers for his first Blackhawks goal. The Hawks wouldn’t surrender that lead.
Dave Bolland continued his impressive start, with not only his overall play for the game, but his shorthanded goal in the third. In their second of back-to-back penalty kills to start the third period, Bolland forced a turnover and skated in alone on Jason LaBarbera, slamming home a goal to make it 4-2. Bolland’s linemate closed out the game with a wrister midway through the period that made it 5-2.
A 5-2 score might not indicate how lopsided this game actually was. From the opening puck drop, you felt like the Coyotes never really had a chance. They were outshot 35 to 16, and it took seven shots in the third period just to get them to that point.
The top line showed improvement. Patrick Sharp still has some work to do to work himself into top form, as is expected, but Toews elevated his game, winning 81 percent of his faceoffs and scoring one of the team’s five goals. The third line also continued their stellar play, with Bolland, Bickell, and Michael Frolik each notching at least one point.
The Hawks will face a considerably tougher opponent when they cap off this pair of road games with a tilt against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.