It took four games and way too many missed opportunities, but the Blackhawks finally captured their first win of the season, beating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1.
“We got lots of breaks,” said Blackhawks head coach Denis Savard. “We didn’t have those in the first couple of games, really. Pucks went in for us.”
The scoring was kicked off by a power play goal by Phoenix’s Peter Mueller early in the second period. But the Hawks rebounded as Martin Havlat and Patrick Sharp scored two goals just after Hawks power play chances had ended, and the Hawks entered the second intermission up 2-1, a lead they would never relinquish.
It’s fitting that the Hawks’ first 'W' of the season featured other team firsts: the first goal in a Blackhawks sweater from defenseman Brian Campbell and the first career NHL goal for rookie Colin Fraser.
“It was a good feeling. You grow up thinking about that, dreaming about it,” said Fraser of his goal, “and it finally happened and hopefully we can get some more.”
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews says the secret to the Hawks success tonight was their execution as a team; all four lines contributed to the win on both ends of the ice.
“I think we executed,” he said. “All four lines played better tonight and that’s why everyone got more ice time. When you do that, we’ve got a heck of a team.”
“We knew they were going to have a lot of energy tonight. There’s a lot of skill over there,” said Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky. “They did a lot of little things well tonight. They deserved to win the hockey game.”
Nikolai Khabibulin started the game in net for the Hawks and made 29 of 30 saves and was named the game’s first star.
Although the pressure may be off them after their first win, Savard said that this is just the beginning for the Hawks; he still sees plenty of room for improvement.”
“To me, we’ve still got lots of things to work on,” Savard said. “It’s a good win, we’re excited. But there are still things we need to continue to work on.”
The Blackhawks' next game is against divisional opponent St. Louis on Saturday night.