Thursday, December 12, 2013
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Blackhawks continue offensive explosion with win over Flyers

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[December 12, 2013]  CHICAGO  Earlier this season, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville complained several times about his team's lack of scoring.

Quenneville isn't doing any complaining these days, that's for sure. His Blackhawks have now scored 19 goals in their last three games, including a season-high seven tallies in Wednesday's dominating 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center.

"They've gone in the last three games and I thought tonight was kind of comparable to the last few games," Quenneville said. "The quality probably wasn't there, but they managed to go in."

With back-to-back 6-2 wins Sunday and Tuesday, the Blackhawks outscored their opponents 19-6 in the last three games, which also equals the current winning streak. It's also the first time Chicago has netted six-plus goals in three consecutive games since the 1992-93 season.

Chicago (23-6-5) continues to lead the NHL in wins (23), goals per game (3.68) and goals scored (125).

Wednesday's game marked the end of a six-game, 13-day road trip for the Flyers, who went 2-4 away from home.

"I'm sure that nobody is satisfied with (the outcome)," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "I'm certainly not and I don't think my players are either. I think we could've done a lot better and I'm sure they think so too."


In much the same way as in the prior two games, the Blackhawks spread the scoring around in Wednesday's game, with goals by defenseman Duncan Keith (second goal of the season) and Brent Seabrook (No. 3), centers Andrew Shaw (No. 10), Michal Handzus (No. 3) and team captain Jonathan Toews (No. 13), right winger Kris Versteeg (No. 5) and left winger Patrick Sharp (No. 15).

Philadelphia (13-15-3) scored first in the game, at 12:31 of the first period, on a power-play goal by right winger Jakub Voracek.

But the momentum quickly changed in the second period when the Blackhawks exploded for five goals against former teammate Ray Emery, now sharing goaltending duties with Steve Mason on the Flyers. Emery signed with Philadelphia during the offseason.

"That start to the second was what we're looking for," Quenneville said. "It was an ordinary first period, but great second period for us. It kind of went from there."

First, Keith scored just 43 seconds into the middle frame to tie the game at 1. Then, 39 seconds later, Shaw pulled off a perfect wrap-around goal past Emery to make it 2-0.

"I think we just have confidence in one another in this room that we have the ability to win games and I think when we're playing the right way, everything just takes care of itself," Keith said.

At 5:27, Handzus played a little give-and-go with fellow forward Marcus Kruger as they closed in on Emery. Handzus lost control of the puck but it bounced off his skate and trickled into the Flyers net, a short-handed effort at that.

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Philadelphia closed the scoring gap to 3-2 at 6:11 on right winger Steve Downie's third goal on the power-play past Chicago goalie Antti Raanta, who stopped 28 of Philadelphia's 30 shots.

Versteeg scored at 9:44 to put the Blackhawks back ahead by two goals, 4-2. Toews tallied at 14:15 to make it 5-2.

Chicago's onslaught continued in the third period when Seabrook scored at 1:05. Berube had seen enough at that point, pulling Emery from his Chicago homecoming and replacing him with Mason.

"We go into the second with the lead and, just kind of a funny one, I've got to make a save and pucks are kind of bouncing around a bit," Emery said. "But you can't make excuses. As a whole we've got to play better in the second."

With Philadelphia's Jay Rosehill (roughing) and Luke Schenn (elbowing) both sent to the penalty box at 9:13 of the third period, it took Sharp just 20 seconds to score with a 5-on-3 power-play advantage.

Sharp has been the hottest Blackhawk player of late, now with six goals in his last eight games.

"It's a credit to our team game," Sharp said. "We know we have guys in here that can put up big numbers and score goals, but when we're playing well in all three zones, that's usually when our offense clicks."

Philadelphia outshot Chicago 30-23 in the game.

NOTES: Attendance was 21,141. The Blackhawks are now only six games away (206 regular season and 38 playoffs) from 250 consecutive sellouts at the United Center. ... The Flyers return home to face Montreal on Thursday, are at Washington on Friday and then play three of their next four games at home. ... The Blackhawks play at Toronto on Saturday before hosting the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. ... Philadelphia still leads the all-time series with Chicago (55-44-30). ... The Blackhawks welcomed back former G Ray Emery with a video presentation and large round of applause from fans. Unlike other players from last year's team that have moved on to other clubs, Emery did not acknowledge the video tribute or applause. ... The Blackhawks and the United Center have been selected to host the 2017 NCAA Men's Hockey Championship (the so-called "Frozen Four"). Also, the United Center agreed to a 20-year extension of title rights sponsorship with United Airlines through 2034. Financial terms were not disclosed.

[ 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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