The Blackhawks put up a solid defense in front of goalie Patrick Lalime and rode Jason Williams' 1st period goal to blank Phoenix 1-0 Wednesday at the United Center. The win moved the Hawks within six points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Lalime registered his 35th career shutout as he stopped 32 Phoenix shots. It was his first whitewash since his initial start as a Hawk last February in Vancouver (3-0).
The Hawks assisted Lalime by blocking 15 Phoenix shots.
The lone goal of the game came at the 8-minute mark of the opening period when rookie Dave Bolland fed a pass to Williams whose short shot glanced off the skate of a Coyote player past goalie Ilja Bryzgalov.
It was Williams' 9th of the season and his second in four games after missing 35 due to injuries.
Hawks forward Martin Havlat suffered an apparent shoulder injury on his first shift of the 2nd period and did not return. His status is unknown. He has missed 28 games this season after being the team's top scorer last year.
Hawks coach Denis Savard said that Lalime came up with some big saves, especially in the 3rd period, and also credited Bryzgalov for Phoenix.
Savard was pleased with the solid play of Andrew Ladd, who was obtained in a trade Tuesday from Carolina. Ladd had 15+ minutes of ice time and had a team high five shots on goal.
Lalime was not severely tested in the opening period, but made key stops in the middle frame on Shane Doan, Niko Kapanen and Joel Perrault. In the final minute he stopped Martin Hanzal at point-blank range.
Bryzgalov was busy on the other end of the ice as he thwarted Patrick Sharp three times in the game while making big saves on Bolland twice.
Phoenix outshot Chicago 32-25 with 16 coming in the final period.
The Coyotes pulled Bryzgalov for an extra attacker in the final 72 seconds of the game, plus got a power play with 47 seconds remaining but failed to connect.
|Jonathan Toews falls as he tries to keep the puck away from Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris during the third period of the Blackhawks' 1-0 victory on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)|
Neither team capitalized on their two power play attempts as the Hawks captured the season series 3-1.
The Hawks are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
Duncan Keith led all skaters with more than 29 minutes of ice time and was selected as the #2 star of the game. Dustin Byfuglien led his team with five hits as the Hawks dished out 27 compared to 18 for the Coyotes.
The Hawks left immediately after the game for a Thursday night battle in Dallas against the Pacific leading Stars. They will return to the United Center Sunday afternoon to face Vancouver (2 pm).
AP Notes: Players acquired by both teams before Tuesday's trade deadline were in the lineups. LW Andrew Ladd, acquired by Chicago from Carolina for C/LW Tuomo Ruutu, played as did Hossa, picked up by Phoenix in a multi-player deal with the New York Rangers. ... With Khabibulin out, Lalime was backed up by Corey Crawford. ... Chicago C Robert Lang sat out due to back spasms. ... Blackhawks D Brent Sopel missed his third game and C Yanic Perreault sat out his sixth, both because of broken wrists. ... Chicago recalled D Petri Kontiola from Rockford (AHL).
Head coach Wayne Gretzky: "Tough game. Both teams are battling for their lives. They played hard and one goal is the difference of a hockey game. There were a lot of good things and some things we didn't do very well but what can you say. It was a battle throughout the night. When we did get some chances their goaltender was really good; when they got some chances our guy was really good. That point of view, it was just a tough effort all the way around, tough game."
Right wing Shane Doan: "It was disappointing in the fact that we were a little too lackadaisical in the first period. We weren't as aggressive as we needed to be."
Goaltender Ilja Bryzgalov: "It was [an] unlucky goal. Nothing we can do about it. It was a tight game. Both teams played well ... we still have a chance, both teams have a chance to find their spot for the playoffs and it was an even game. I don't gave an advantage to either team. The only difference is they score a goal and we don't."