GLENDALE, Ariz. – It was clear from the start that Thursday's meeting with the Coyotes wasn't just another game for the Blackhawks.
Facing Raffi Torres for the first time since the Phoenix winger concussed Marian Hossa in the playoffs last season, the Hawks might not have come out and said they wanted revenge, but judging from their play it was clear.
The biggest payback didn’t come in the form of a fight. Instead, the biggest haymakers were the six goals they scored in embarrassing Phoenix, 6-2, at Jobing.com Arena to remain unbeaten in regulation in 2013.
“We wanted to focus on playing hard and not get sidetracked by that other stuff,” said Patrick Sharp, who turned in three assists Thursday. “It was intense hockey and we have a good thing going right now.”
The initial spark came just two and a half minutes into the game when Jamal Mayers dropped his gloves and squared off against Torres in the middle of the ice. The fight eventually ended in a draw but the lasting result was four first period goals.
“What [Mayers] did for the team was great,” goaltender Ray Emery said. “It kind of got that out of the way and we were able to focus, get to the net and bury some pucks. I thought we played the right way tonight too, we played responsible hockey.”
Sharp shared his goalie’s sentiments.
“It definitely fired us up and got us going,” he said. “It takes a lot of guts to do something like that because there was really no discussion of it in our locker room.”
As for if Thursday’s happenings put an end to the feud between Torres and the Hawks, that’s still up in the air according to Mayers.
“We’ll see,” he said. “It still doesn’t excuse what happened but give him credit for being ready to go.”
Counting the six goals Thursday, Chicago has now scored 12 times in just four and a half periods this season against Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, who was pulled midway through the second period. In the six postseason games against him last year, the Hawks scored a total of 12 goals.
Patrick Kane led the way, scoring twice and adding an assist to extend his point streak to five games and record seventh multi-point game of the season. Both goals came during 5-on-3 advantages when he found open nets off cross-crease passes.
“It’s been an exciting start for me personally and the team too,” Kane said. “You always want to put up points, especially in my role, that’s my job.”
Emery quietly earned his third win of the season, and second against Phoenix, by stopping 18-of-19 shots. The Chicago win marked the first time since 2011 the Coyotes have lost at home in February.