Daily Herald - Suburban Chicago's source for news This copy is for personal, non-commercial use. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution you can: 1) Use the "Reprint" button found on the top and bottom of every article, 2) Visit reprints.theygsgroup.com/dailyherald.asp for samples and additional information or 3) Order a reprint of this article now.
Article updated: 2/8/2013 9:44 PM

Hawks just keep rollin' along

By Tim Sassone

The Blackhawks are 9-0-2 because on this tight-knit team, everyone knows his role.

Take Jamal Mayers. His role is to protect and enforce and change the momentum of games when he gets on the ice as a fourth liner.

Mayers did just that in Thursday's 6-2 win against Phoenix when he challenged Raffi Torres and fought the Coyotes' tough guy just 2:35 into the game as payback for Torres knocking Marian Hossa out of the playoffs last spring with a dirty hit.

The fight pumped up the Hawks, who went on to build a 4-0 lead in the first period.

"Obviously, I realize what my job is at this point," Mayers told chicagoblackhawks.com. "It still doesn't excuse what happened, but give him credit that he was willing to go.

"I understand what my job is, trying to create momentum. We'll see (if it's the end of it with Torres). You try to play within the whistles, but like I said before the game, my focus was the 2 points."

Patrick Kane's role is to score, and he has been doing that consistently since opening day. With 3 more points in Thursday's win Kane has 18, which had him second in the NHL behind only Buffalo's Thomas Vanek before Friday's games.

Kane, who is also plus-6, had 2 power-play goals and an assist in Thursday's 4-goal first period.

"You probably couldn't ask for a better first period there, (starting with) Jammer's great play," Kane told reporters. "That was awesome. I think he pumped up everyone on the bench and got us going.

"It was nice to capitalize on two 5-on-3 power plays. Everyone was excited by how we started, especially since our last two starts weren't great at Calgary and San Jose."

This is the best start of Kane's career.

"Sometimes you just get on a roll and it keeps going," Kane said. "I'm just trying to keep worrying about hockey and keep focused. It's always nice to score goals when you're winning. Hopefully we can keep it going and I can keep it going."

Coach Joel Quenneville sees a difference in Kane, who went and played in Switzerland during the lockout.

"He's playing extremely well," Quenneville said told reporters. "We're very happy with the way he has started the season with us, his demeanor, his approach, his consistency in his game on both sides of the puck. He wants the puck and he wants to score. He's doing everything we want him to do."

The Hawks are off until Sunday when they close their six-game road trip at Nashville.

"We feel good right now," Quenneville said. "We're playing well and we've been consistent in our games. We've got a lot of contributions from a lot of guys. It seems like the chemistry in the room is as good as you can get and it's reflected in our play.

"It was a great effort across the board (against the Coyotes). I'm pleased with every aspect of our game and the contribution of each guy."

tsassone@dailyherald.com

Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.