Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’


The Chicago Blackhawks avoided a third straight loss and moved back into the third seed in the Central Division with a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

After talking about needing to match the Jets’ desperation heading into Sunday’s tilt, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the game-winner with 30.8 seconds remaining.

“We knew we had to get two points whether it was tying it up and going to overtime,’ said Patrick Sharp. “Obviously what we did was much better, but we knew the importance with how things were going and how viable those points are at this time of the year. [The third] was a big period for us.”

The Blackhawks win drops the Minnesota Wild into the first wild card position. The Jets hold the second wild card seed.

Jets’ defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who was throwing his weight around all game, had two goals in the loss. Blake Wheeler had a short-handed goal.

“It was nice to see us comeback and win a game from behind,” Sharp said. “We got a few lucky bounces there, but I thought we were much more patient in our game tonight. It felt a lot better all through the lineup.

“We scored some big goals and it was great to get the two points.”

Andrew Shaw, Brad Richards and Sharp had the other Blackhawks’ goals while Corey Crawford made 31 saves for this 31st win of the season.

Sharp was the benefactor of Jets’ defenseman Toby Enstrom getting tied up with the linesman on the game-tying goal at 6:27 of the third.

“I saw the puck in between him and the linesman and it was a stick length away,” said Sharp. “I knew he was kind of tied up and in a little bit of trouble. That’s an unfortunate play for them. Fortunate for us. I’ve hit my fair share of posts so its nice to get a good bounce.”

The goal was Sharp’s 14th of the season and second in seven games.

“You’re angry when it happens. There isn’t anything you can do about it,” said Jets’ coach Paul Maurice.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 20 shots in the loss.

Winnipeg, who had won six of seven entering the game, has now lost two of three.

Goalie Nods: Wings will start Mrazek for second straight day


All the latest from the blue paint…

Detroit sticks with Petr Mrazek

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard’s recent slump has been bad enough spark speculation about him potentially losing the starting job to 23-year-old netminder Mrazek. That debate only intensified after Mrazek posted a 23-save shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Under these circumstances, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided to start Mrazek against the New York Islanders despite the lack of rest. The only other time Detroit attempted to start Mrazek on back-to-back days this season, he allowed three goals on seven shots to the Buffalo Sabres before being pulled just 13:37 minutes into the second game.

There’s no word yet on who the Islanders will counter with.


Capitals at Rangers: Braden Holtby vs. Cam Talbot

Panthers at Senators: Craig Anderson will start for Ottawa; Roberto Luongo is the probable goaltender for Florida.

Bruins at Hurricanes: Tuukka Rask is expected to be fine for today’s game after dealing with dehydration issues on Saturday, so there’s a fair chance he’ll be between the pipes for Boston. Carolina will likely go with Anton Khudobin after using Cam Ward on Saturday, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Flames at Predators: Jonas Hiller is confirmed for Calgary while there’s a fair chance Nashville will counter with Pekka Rinne.

Ducks at Devils: It’s not know who Anaheim will start, but Cory Schneider will be in goal for New Jersey.

Sharks at Penguins: Alex Stalock vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Blackhawks at Jets: Corey Crawford vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Toews: Blackhawks giving up too many ‘Grade-A scoring chances’ of late


Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford may have been pulled in the first period of Friday’s game, but the team in front of him was just as culpable after some defensive lapses against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Columbus had a pair of goals on breakaways in the opening period, including a beautiful short-handed tally from Cam Atkinson, who recorded the hat trick in the Blue Jackets decisive victory over Chicago.

And Jonathan Toews has had enough of the defensive miscues.

“We just gave away too many Grade-A scoring chances. We’re doing that to our goaltenders way too often lately,” said Toews, as per Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild won again, defeating the Calgary Flames earlier in the evening. That moves Minnesota to within one point of the Blackhawks for third in the Central Division.

Video: Atkinson fools Crawford on short-handed breakaway, records hat trick in win over Chicago

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Cam Atkinson recorded the hat trick for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, and his second goal of the evening was a beauty.

Sent in a short-handed breakaway, Atkinson completely fooled Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford with a move to the forehand, tucking the puck into a wide open net to give Columbus a 4-2 lead late in the first period. Crawford was pulled after that goal.

The Blue Jackets went to win by a final score of 5-2, with Atkinson scoring an empty net goal for his third of the evening. He’s now up to 19 goals on the season. His career high sits at 21, which is a total he recorded last season.

Crawford pulled after allowing four goals in first period


Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford had a difficult first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Crawford was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots, including a pair of breakaway goals for Columbus. At the time Crawford was yanked, the Blue Jackets had gained a 4-2 lead. Scott Darling entered the game for Chicago.