Even though the Blackhawks are 6-5-1 since their record 21-0-3 start, they have built a substantial cushion in the Central Division — guaranteeing a playoff spot.
“It feels better,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “The last two years it was basically life and death to get in. You don’t want to put yourself in that position where game in and game out it’s going to make a difference at the end. Hopefully we can continue to enhance the position we’re in and maybe you got a chance to rest or try some things.
“It’s going to be very competitive to the end, but we don’t want to take anything for granted where we’re at. We want to finish as high as possible. We’d like to be No. 1 (in the Western Conference).”
In his second Hawks debut, Michal Handzus disappointed only himself when he failed to score in the fifth round of the shootout eventually won by St. Louis on Thursday.
“I was confident I was going to score, but I didn’t,” Handzus said.
Handzus finished plus-1 in 12:50 of ice time playing mostly right wing on the fourth line, but he won 10 of 14 faceoffs.
“I liked him,” Joel Quenneville said. “I thought he was good on faceoffs. He was big, had a few scoring chances. You like his instincts.”
Bolland, Sharp out:
Dave Bolland apparently is still bothered by a sore foot that resulted from him blocking a shot by Shea Weber on Monday against Nashville.
Bolland didn’t make the trip to Nashville on Friday for Saturday’s rematch with the Predators. He played only 12:57 in Thursday’s loss to St. Louis and was minus-2.
Patrick Sharp is not on the trip and will miss his 13th straight game with a shoulder injury.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.