Blackhawks' sixth straigh win wraps up trip
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The Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews battles the Coyotes' Kyle Chipchura for the puck in the second period Saturday night.
Who's tired? Apparently, it's not the Blackhawks.
Finally coming to the end of their seven-game, 14-day circus road trip, the Hawks looked like the fresher team in a 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
The Hawks (20-4-4) finished their grueling 6-1 trip with a six-game winning streak.
It was total domination early by the Hawks, who took a 3-0 lead out of the first period on goals by Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
"We loved the start to our game tonight," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. "We had great pace and great energy, and at the end of the night, huge trip. We're very proud of our team."
Kane redirected a Marian Hossa shot past goalie Mike Smith during an early 5-on-3 power play at 2:34. It was the 16th goal of the season for Kane, who had a 12-game points streak snapped Friday at Dallas.
Shaw made it 2-0 at 9:18 with an assist by Duncan Keith, his 23rd of the season. Keith also assisted on Kane's goal. It was Shaw's fourth goal on the road trip.
Hjalmarsson made it 3-0 at 11:06 with a blast past Smith.
"Pretty much since the first game (of the trip) we've been playing pretty solid," Hjalmarsson told Comcast SportsNet between the first and second period. "It's been a long trip. That first period was better than I thought it would be."
The second period belonged to the Coyotes, however, mostly because the Hawks got into penalty trouble.
Goals by Rob Klinkhammer and Martin Hanzal on a power play made it a game at 3-2, but Brandon Bollig scored a huge goal at 10:49 of the third period to restore order.
The Hawks killed a 5-on-3 in the second period that helped give them back the momentum.
"It got away from us a little in the second period, and we had to kill that 5-on-3," Quenneville said. "We caught a break there and killed it and got a little bit of momentum back early in the third period."
It was another big night for the fourth line of Marcus Kruger, Bollig and Ben Smith.
Hossa added an empty netter in the last minute to make a winner out of rookie goalie Antti Raanta, who made 15 of his 31 saves in the second period.
Raanta started for the second time in three games and was sharp again.
"I like his patience," Quenneville said. "He has that patience and poise in the net where he doesn't get rattled. He just waits for the puck to come and does his thing."
It was the sixth straight win by the Hawks after they lost the road-trip opener at Colorado.
"They're the best for a reason," said Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn following Friday's 2-1 loss to the Hawks. "They don't panic in games if they're up or down. They're just a team that knows how to win."
Friday's game needed 11 rounds of the shootout for it to be decided by Smith.
"It was my first shootout in this league," Smith said. "To get an opportunity is awesome. Over the last couple of games we probably haven't been what we wanted to be, but we've come out with 4 points."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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