BOSTON – The Chicago Blackhawks are scoring goals in bunches – and picking up their wins in bulk, too.
The Blackhawks scored five straight times after spotting Boston a two-goal lead, getting two goals and an assist from Duncan Keith to beat the Bruins 5-2 on Thursday night. It was Chicago’s fifth straight win, and its 12th in 14 games.
“I think everyone was just (angry), basically, getting down there, 2-0,” defenceman Niklas Hjarlmarsson. “We just wanted to turn it around, and we did.”
Scoring in streaks has worked out well for Chicago lately.
The Blackhawks scored four in a row after giving up the first goal to Minnesota on Tuesday night, and opened a 5-0 lead against Anaheim on Sunday. It was 2-2 after one against St. Louis on Saturday before the Blackhawks scored four consecutive goals in a 6-3 victory; a week ago, Chicago scored the first five goals against New Jersey.
Blake Wheeler scored first for Boston, and he assisted on Miroslav Satan’s first goal since signing with the Bruins as Boston took a 2-0 lead just 8:02 into the game. But Keith and Tomas Kopecky tied it before the end of the first period, Andrew Ladd gave Chicago the lead 102 seconds into the second, and Keith made it 4-2 midway through the period to chase goalie Tim Thomas.
“We realized there’s still a lot of hockey left, so we didn’t want to get down on ourselves or anything like that,” Keith said. “We have a lot of confidence. I think a lot of that comes from just knowing the fact we have … so many guys who can put the puck in the net. I think that just gives us confidence, knowing that we can score some goals if we’re down some.”
Thomas, chosen for the U.S. Olympic team last Friday, stopped 20 of 24 shots before being replaced by Tuukka Rask.
Asked what went wrong, Thomas said, “Everything.”
“They’re a good team that played well,” he said. “They pretty much did everything they wanted to.”
Rask made 11 saves, allowing Patrick Kane’s shot from the slot that made it 5-2 with just over two minutes left. Kane has 19 goals on the season and points in 10 straight games.
Antti Niemi made 19 saves to help Chicago retake the top spot in the Western Conference, with 65 points to 63 for idle San Jose.
“Maybe we let our foot off the gas when it was 2-0,” Wheeler said. “With a team like Chicago, you’ve got to be tasting blood at that point. You’ve got to be thinking of making three or four.”
The worse news for Boston was the loss of Marc Savard to an apparent leg injury when he got twisted up against the boards just 28 seconds into the game; he didn’t return. Bruins coach Claude Julien said Savard would have an MRI on Friday.
It was the third straight game that Boston has lost a key player: On Monday, Patrice Bergeron broke his thumb, and Andrew Ference hurt his groin on Tuesday. But the Bruins did get Milan Lucic back from a left ankle sprain that has kept him out since Nov. 25.
“It’s not an easy task, and we were exposed a little bit tonight,” Julien said, while insisting that the team would not use injuries as an excuse. “I don’t care what happens, it will never be because of injuries. But let’s be honest and realistic: Injuries are making it hard to do what we’re trying to do.”
Thomas had been 5-1 in his last six starts, including the Winter Classic. But he was pulled from the game after allowing Keith’s second goal on a wrist shot from the left point with 9:47 left in the second period.
NOTES: The Blackhawks had not beaten Boston in regulation since 2003. … Kris Versteeg had a goal waved off with 7:25 left because he deflected it with a high stick. … Chicago is 9-1-1 against the Eastern Conference. … Bruins F Byron Bitz was scratched with a sore back.