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updated: 12/2/2011 11:28 PM

Blackhawks beat Islanders, but issues persist

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  • Patrick Sharp (10) celebrates after scoring his goal during the third period of the Hawks' 5-4 shootout victory over the Islanders on Friday night at the United Center.

      Patrick Sharp (10) celebrates after scoring his goal during the third period of the Hawks' 5-4 shootout victory over the Islanders on Friday night at the United Center.
    Associated Press

 
 

They don't award points for style in the NHL, which was good news for the Blackhawks on Friday night.

The Hawks picked up 2 points in the standings the hard way, with an ugly 5-4 win over the New York Islanders in a shootout.

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Jonathan Toews scored the only goal in the shootout after the Hawks survived a third period where they were outshot 23-7 by the league's worst offensive team.

The Hawks remain in a team funk defensively, from goalie Corey Crawford on out.

"I still think we're too loose in our own end," said Hawks defenseman Sean O'Donnell. "It just doesn't seem like we're as tight as we need to me. We gave up too many chances and Corey came up with some great saves tonight.

"It's nice to get the 2 points, but we need to get back and be a lot better, especially going into St. Louis (Saturday) night."

The Hawks keep talking about how they need to be better defensively, but it's not happening. They've now allowed 80 goals. Only Columbus has surrendered more in the Western Conference.

Coach Joel Quenneville admitted the third period was like watching a fire drill with all the running around the Hawks did.

"I thought defensively was perfect going into the third period," Quenneville said. "We gave up a small amount of shots (15) and a very limited number of chances, but everything exploded in the third. We've got to be more composed, particularly when the games are on the line in our own end. Our defensive zone coverage got way out of sorts. We really ran around there in the third."

Crawford had the kind of hot-and-cold night that has defined his season to this point. He allowed a few goals he would love to have back, but he made some big stops when the game was on the line.

"It felt good just to get 2 points and get a win," Crawford said. "It's frustrating when you give up a lead, but fortunately we have enough firepower."

Quenneville thought Crawford was the difference in the game in the third period even though the Islanders scored twice to wipe away a 3-2 deficit.

"Huge saves in the third," Quenneville said. "He got tested and challenged in the third. The chances probably tripled what they had in the first two."

Patrick Sharp's power-play goal at 5:08 of the third period gave the Hawks a 4-3 lead, but Nino Niederreiter tied it with 11:05 to play. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith got tangled, allowing Niederreiter a path to the net, but that came after Ben Smith turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

"I wouldn't blame the defense so much as our forwards were contributing as well," Quenneville said about what happened in the third period.

Crawford made 2 saves in the shootout then forced Matt Moulson wide enough where he could only hit the post.

Toews had a goal and assist in regulation in addition to his shootout winner. His goal in the second period was short-handed and snapped a 2-2 tie.

"We found a way to win and get 2 points, but we've got to be better than this," Toews said.

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