Fittest loser
Article updated: 4/2/2013 12:46 AM

Rozsival wins it for Blackhawks in shootout

Blackhawks’ Michal Rozsival scores the winning goal against Predators goalie Pekka Rinne during the shootout Monday night at the United Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Predators 3-2.

Blackhawks' Michal Rozsival scores the winning goal against Predators goalie Pekka Rinne during the shootout Monday night at the United Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Predators 3-2.

 

Associated Press

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Not everyone's eyebrows went up when defenseman Michal Rozsival came out to take the fifth shot in the shootout Monday night at the United Center.

His teammates have seen him in practice.

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Rozsival scored when he lifted a backhander over Pekka Rinne, and Hawks goalie Corey Crawford made a big stop on Taylor Beck as the Blackhawks turned back the Nashville Predators 3-2.

"Actually, he's been pretty good in practice," Crawford said. "He's been really tough to stop. I think he's made that move on me about 12 times in practice and scored every time."

Jonathan Toews, who also scored in the shootout, thought Rozsival was a perfect choice by coach Joel Quenneville to go after himself, Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.

"He's deserved the chance to go in the game because in practice he's unbelievable; he scores every time," Toews said. "He's got great hands and great patience with the puck as you saw there. He waited for the goaltender to make the first move. Big goal by him."

Rozsival hasn't scored a goal in 20 games with the Hawks, so he'll take the shootout score.

"That's all I do. It's all about one move," Rozsival said. "I've been kind of lucky scoring with that move during practice. It's nice to contribute offensively, even though it's the shootout."

The win came on the day the Hawks acquired center Michal Handzus from San Jose for a fourth-round draft pick. There are those who question how Handzus is going to help other than in the faceoff circle, but Quenneville sees a guy who can play center or left wing.

"It gives us options," Quenneville said. "We got a guy who can take big faceoffs and is experienced and is a great person. He's very useful in a lot of ways."

"I think I have a lot left in the tank," Handzus said.

The Hawks got goals in the first period from Saad and in the second from Kane to take a 2-0 lead. Saad got his seventh goal of the season with 11.3 seconds remaining in the opening period when his shot from the right boards went in off the skate of Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum.

Kane scored his 19th goal at 12:10 of the second period with the teams playing 4-on-4. He led a 2-on-1 and kept the puck, beating Rinne through the pads.

Nashville closed to 2-1 four minutes into the third period when Crawford failed to cover the puck and David Legwand poked the loose rubber into the net.

Crawford butchered another play around the net at 7:26 allowing Nashville to tie it on a goal credited to Beck. Crawford made the original save but knocked the rebound into his own net.

"The first one got the other team going and we lost some momentum in the game," Quenneville said. "The next several shifts there we didn't have the comfort or patience with the puck we had in the game. It was nice to see us, losing all that momentum, get it to overtime and pick up the valuable extra point."

The Hawks lost center Dave Bolland in the first period when he blocked a Shea Weber shot and had to be helped off the ice. Bolland tried to play a few more shifts before leaving for good.

•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.

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