Blackhawks get payback on Torres, Coyotes
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Payback can come in a lot of different ways.
In the first on-ice meeting between Marian Hossa and Raffi Torres since the hit in the playoffs that saw Hossa leave Game 3 on a stretcher, the Blackhawks paid Torres and the Phoenix Coyotes back with a dominating 6-2 win Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The win moved the Hawks to 9-0-2.
Who else but pro's pro Jamal Mayers took care of business early, dropping the gloves and fighting Torres just 2:35 into the first period. Mayers came off the bench and immediately challenged Torres, who knew it was coming.
The bout was probably a draw, but it was the effort by Mayers that drew the praise of his teammates.
"If that doesn't get you pumped up, nothing will," Patrick Kane told Comcast SportsNet following the first period. "That really set the tone for us and pumped up everyone. It gave you chills on the bench watching that."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said what Mayers did was not premeditated.
"He might have had an idea of what he wanted to do," Quenneville told reporters. "Jammer knows his role. He's a good pro. I commend him."
Kane took over from there, scoring 2 power-play goals and adding an assist in a 4-goal first period when the Hawks outshot Phoenix 17-4.
Viktor Stalberg opened the scoring at 8:17 when he fired home a pass from Andrew Shaw, who had chipped the puck to himself around Coyotes defenseman Chris Summers.
Kane made it 2-0 during a 5-on-3 power play when he took a pass from Jonathan Toews during a scramble in front and beat goalie Mike Smith.
Kane then set up Dave Bolland's goal at 17:24, drawing two Coyotes defenders to him along the boards and finding Bolland in the slot.
Kane got his second goal at 18:25 when he one-timed a pass from Patrick Sharp and beat Smith from the right side. Sharp had 3 assists in the first period.
Hossa, who assisted on Toews' goal in the third period, told reporters at the morning skate that he was taking it as just another game.
"I'm here to just play another game," Hossa said. "We'll see what's going to happen and what kind of game it's going to be, but for me I'm going to prepare for just another game."
The Hawks remained the only team in the NHL without a loss in regulation.
"We try to play our game how we've done so far this year," Hossa said. "I think we've done so well so far and we're not going to change anything. We're going to roll all four lines and that's our goal."
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said there were a number of challenges about playing the Hawks, starting with containing their best players.
The Coyotes failed to do that.
"They're a solid team throughout, but their top players are really good top players," Tippett said. "Their top players are elite players and you have to be aware of them."
The Coyotes made it 4-1 early in the second period on a goal by Martin Hanzal, but the Hawks got the next 2.
Torres got the final goal of the game with less than two minutes to play, but by that time it hardly mattered.
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