Blackhawks score early and often in rout of Coyotes

CHICAGO (Ticker) — Ben Eager netted a pair of goals as six
different players scored to propel the Chicago Blackhawks to
their fifth straight victory with a 7-1 triumph over the Phoenix
Coyotes on Sunday.

Andrew Ladd had a career-high four points with a goal and three
assists as the Blackhawks scored a season-high seven times with
four in the first period and three in the second.

“It was a night where I just seemed to be on the puck all night,
and had the time and space and was lucky to make some plays,”
Ladd said. “Things seemed to be clicking.”

Jonathan Toews, Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland
also tallied for Chicago.

Chicago goaltender Cristobal Huet won for just the second time
in six games, stopping 20 shots.

Bolland beat Ilya Bryzgalov to open the scoring at 11:38 of the
first period with his fifth goal of the season. Toews scored
just 29 seconds later and Byfuglien and Sharp also tallied late
in the period for a 4-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Sharp’s power-play goal was his fourth consecutive game with a
tally, tying him with Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins for third
in the NHL with 16 goals this season.

“We needed the two points,” Sharp said. “You look at the
standings and while we have played well all year, we are just
hanging on to the eighth spot. It looks like it will be a tight
race all season.”

Bryzgalov allowed seven goals on just 28 shots to fall to 1-6-1
in his last eight games.

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“There isn’t much to react to, we were outplayed, outscored and
out hit,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “They took it to us
pretty well. We handled the first 10 minutes OK, then a couple
of turnovers and a penalty and it was 3-0 very quickly.”

The four first-period goals tied a season-high for Chicago,
which also scored four times in the third period against the
Colorado Avalanche on November 3.

Eager’s tallies came 2:55 apart in the first half of the second
period and Ladd also scored in that span for the Blackhawks, who
improved to 3-0-0 against the Coyotes this campaign. The teams
conclude their season series on January 6 in Phoenix.

A scrum between Chicago rookie Kris Versteeg and Phoenix rookie
Kyle Turris in the final seconds of the third left Gretzky
fuming after the game.

“I am not happy to see an 18-year old kid (Turris) get pulled
out of a pile in the last five seconds of a 7-1 hockey game and
take a beating (by Versteeg),” Gretzky said. “There is no room
for that and I don’t think I have seen that before. We will see
what happens the next time we play them.”

Enver Lisin got the Coyotes on the board with 43 seconds left in
the second with his fifth goal of the season.

Martin Havlat and Colin Fraser recorded two assists apiece as 13
players notched at least one point for Chicago.