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Blackhawks find their offense in wild win over Arizona

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Viktor Tikhonov’s time in Chicago was short, but instructive. Of all the things he learned from the Blackhawks — how to better use his stick, how to be efficient in the corners, how to play responsibly without the puck — one thing stood out above all else.

The battle-tested Hawks never get too high after wins and never get too low after losses. They never panic, and they never celebrate to soon. There’s a confidence that comes with championships, and even players who haven’t hoisted the Stanley Cup in Chicago get a sense of it.

“There’s so much experience in that room, they’ve been through everything multiple times,” Tikhonov said before his Arizona Coyotes hosted the Hawks on Tuesday. “They really know how to handle themselves in loss and defeat. It comes with a lot of experience.”

The Hawks’ bizarre 7-5 victory over the Coyotes was a perfect example. After coming just three seconds shy of being shut out in their last two games, there was no panic about the offense, about a power play that suddenly was dormant, about a sudden downturn in puck luck.

And on Tuesday, charged by coach Joel Quenneville with getting more bodies in the crease and more traffic in the low slot, the Hawks went out and scored seven goals — ugly ones, pretty ones, power play ones, even a shorthanded empty-netter.

Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith each had a goal and two assists. Andrew Desjardins, who had one goal all season, scored a pair of fluky goals. Brent Seabrook and Teuvo Teravainen each had a pair of assists. The Hawks had three power-play goals in the first period alone, chasing Coyotes starter Anders Lindback despite only sending five shots his way.

On the flip side, the Hawks gave up five goals, including a hat trick to Shane Doan. They gave Arizona eight power plays. They squandered a two-goal lead in two minutes in the first period, and turned a laugher into a near nail-biter in the third period when a 6-2 game became a 6-4 game thanks to a parade of penalties. But just as the Hawks didn’t freak out over two off nights offensively, they’re not going to sweat one bad defensive game, either. Especially one they won.

“The win is certainly needed,” Quenneville said. “Our power play was great. We had some great shifts in the game. We haven’t had a lead like that all year, [and we weren’t] playing the right way after we had it. It definitely can help us in the learning curve. Hopefully, it happens again.”

The Hawks led 3-2 after one period, on power-play goals by Keith, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin, with Kane setting up the first two. With familiar foe Mike Smith injured, the Coyotes turned to rookie Louis Domingue to replace Lindback in the second. Domingue immediately allowed a seemingly harmless Desjardins shot to skitter underneath his pad to make it 4-2. Andrew Shaw threaded a pass through traffic to a comically open Kane for a 5-2 lead later in the period. Desjardins made it 6-2 when his shot off a Teravainen feed was stopped by Domingue, but knocked in by Coyotes defenseman Nicklas Grossmann.

It was the offensive explosion the Hawks had been patiently waiting for.

“We’ve been through a lot as a group together,” Kane said. “As new guys funnel in year after year, you kind of want to show them that and show them we have the confidence even if we’re losing games.”

Consecutive penalties by Jonathan Toews, Bryan Bickell, Marian Hossa and Desjardins allowed the Coyotes to make a game of it, but Toews’ shorthanded empty-netter pretty much sealed it.

It wasn’t pretty, but just like goal scoring, it doesn’t always have to be.

“You’ll take the win,” Desjardins said. “I don’t think we want to win 7-5 all the time; we’d like to keep the puck out of our net more. But we’ll take it.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com
Twitter: @marklazerus