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The two points we needed. The injury we didn’t.

As is frequently the case, Blackhawks’ fans are faced with a good news/bad news headline following an important game against a Conference rival. The Blackhawks played a tight game, allowing only 23 shots on Corey Crawford in a 2 – 1 victory over Phoenix, but suffered what may be a back-breaking loss in Patrick Sharp if his injury proves to be serious.

Late in the first period Sharp had a medium-speed collision with the Coyotes’ Rostislav Klesla. From the video replay it appeared that the impact caused Sharp’s left knee to buckle inwards. He required assistance to get off the ice, left the game immediately and did not return. Sharp will be evaluated on Monday, and we hope to have more news on his condition on Tuesday.

The injury to Sharp, if it proves to be moderately serious, will be the third to a top player in this last part of the season. News on defenseman Brian Campbell is that he may be back in the lineup on Wednesday, but all that does is put John Scott back in the press box. The prognosis on center Dave Bolland is “making some progress.” With Bolland suffering post-concussion symptoms, and there only being 10 games left in the season, I think it’s reasonable to assume that we won’t see Bolland again before the playoffs. Depending on the severity of Sharp’s knee injury, that could mean we have to struggle through the last stretch of the season without two of our key forwards.

Not. Good.

All of this is distracting from what should be cause for some smiles in Blackhawks Nation this morning. The ‘Hawks earned an important two points against Conference rival Phoenix, leap-frogging them into a 5th place tie with Los Angeles and Nashville once the dust settled from yesterday’s crazy games around the league.

The Blackhawks’ offense came exclusively from the blue line last night: Duncan Keith pounded one in from the face-off dot; and newcomer Chris Campoli did his best Patrick Sharp impersonation, slamming home the doorstep feed from Jonathan Toews to score his first goal as a Blackhawk. That broke the 1 – 1 tie and secured the win for the ‘Hawks.

The only blemish on Corey Crawford’s night was a centering pass that deflected off Nick Leddy’s skate and into the goal. But apart from that, Crawford’s performance was solid and included a couple of clutch saves late in the game that kept the ‘Hawks in it. The ‘Hawks play on defense was much more respectable as well, holding the ‘Yotes to 4 shots in the first and 5 shots in the 3rd. This should help to re-build the team’s confidence after the crushing defeat in Dallas.

The Western Conference standings appear to have claimed another victim, as Minnesota’s 8 – 1 loss to Montreal last night has cemented them in 11th place, 7 points out of a playoff spot with only 9 games left on their schedule. They join Columbus, St. Louis, Colorado and Edmonton on the “looking for tee times” list as the season winds down. Right now only 5 points separate 4th place Phoenix and 10th place Calgary.

The ‘Hawks are off until Wednesday when they host the Florida Panthers back home at the United Center. We owe these boys, big time, after being handed a 3 – 2 loss by this pathetic squad two weeks ago in Miami. Head Coach Joel Quenneville should be planning an all-out assault and a 19 – 0 win in front of the home-town crowd.

Look for the preview of that tilt Wednesday afternoon here on BlackhawkUp, and count on us for all the latest news on the injury to Patrick Sharp by following us on Twitter — the link is below. You should “like” us on Facebook too, because we’re insecure and feeling a little vulnerable right now.

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