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Blackhawks use big 2nd period to beat Flyers

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 12:08 a.m. CDT
Caption
Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (left) and Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank fight during the first period Wednesday at the United Center. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO – There was a long slap shot, and then a nifty wraparound and a short-handed score off a 2-on-1 break. Once the Chicago Blackhawks started rolling, Ray Emery never stood a chance.

Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw scored in a 39-second span at the start of Chicago's five-goal second period Wednesday night, sparking the Blackhawks to a 7-2 victory over Emery and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists for Chicago, which has won three in a row after a three-game losing streak. Michal Handzus scored a short-handed goal in the second and Marian Hossa had three assists, helping rookie goaltender Antti Raanta win his second consecutive start in place of injured Corey Crawford.

"We have a quiet confidence we can score goals," Keith said. "Our talk in the room is more about playing the right way, being good defensively, being hard on pucks, checking well. We know our offense is going to take care of itself if we play that way."

The seven goals set a season high for the Blackhawks (23-6-5), who have scored 19 times during their winning streak and lead the NHL with 129 goals. Shaw's sharp wraparound at 1:22 of the second made it six players with at least 10 goals for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are once again on top of the league standings with 51 points.

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

Emery was pulled in the third period of his first start in Chicago since he teamed with Crawford to give the Blackhawks one of the best goaltending tandems in the league last season. Emery went 17-1 with a sparkling 1.94 goals-against average during his second year with Chicago and then signed a free-agent deal with Philadelphia in July.

He received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd when he was recognized on the overhead scoreboard during the first period. But his ninth start of the season took a turn for the worse when Chicago turned up the pressure in the second.

Jakub Voracek and Steve Downie scored power-play goals for the Flyers (13-15-3), who have lost three in a row and went 2-3-1 on a six-game road trip.

"We made a few stupid mistakes," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "We weren't looking behind our backs and when you play a team like that they're going to capitalize."

Voracek's wrister at 12:31 helped Philadelphia to a 1-0 lead after one period. The Blackhawks were coming off a 6-2 victory at Dallas on Tuesday night and looked a bit listless at the start of their first game against the Flyers since Jan. 5, 2012.

That all changed in the second.

Keith got it started with a big drive past Emery just 43 seconds into the period. Then came Shaw's goal, and Handzus made it 3-1 when he scored his third on a break with Marcus Kruger.

Downie's third goal momentarily slowed the Blackhawks' run. Kris Versteeg beat Emery off a terrific pass from Brandon Saad, and Sharp's slap shot went off Jonathan Toews and in to make it 5-2 at 14:15.

"Great second period for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, "and it kind of went from there."

Emery departed after Brent Seabrook scored on a slap shot 65 seconds into the third. Emery finished with 12 saves.

"You're going to be frustrated," Emery said. "There's an old saying, 'You show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser.'"

Raanta made 28 stops to improve to 5-0-1. He drew a large ovation from the crowd when he stopped Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl on a pair of short-handed breakaways in rapid succession in the third.

NOTES: Blackhawks F Bryan Bickell (lower body) skated Wednesday morning and could practice with the team on Friday. "Showed good progress," Quenneville said. ... The Flyers scratched LW Tye McGinn and defensemen Erik Gustafsson and Hal Gill. ... Defensemen Michael Kostka and Michal Rozsival, along with Crawford, were the Blackhawks' scratches. Crawford is out with a lower-body injury.

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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