Sharp hears it from teammates after slip

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Associated Press

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 5:35 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — Yes, Patrick Sharp is getting a bit of grief from his teammates after he tumbled to the ice while celebrating a rare power-play goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.

It's OK. Sharp is having too much fun to care.

"I know I enjoy playing in games that mean a lot," said Sharp, who leads the NHL with 10 playoff goals. "I enjoy the big stage. I think we have a lot of players in this room that do that and that's the reason why we keep getting back here."

Sharp has been a key playoff performer for Chicago once again after he missed 14 games during the regular season due to a shoulder injury. The talented wing had 11 goals and 11 assists in the postseason when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

He also has six assists this year, making him a contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP.

"The last few games, he seems like he's getting the puck a lot more and getting opportunities around the net," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Sharp's third-period rebound score gave the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead at Boston on Wednesday night. They went on to 6-5 overtime victory against the Bruins, tying the series at two games apiece heading into Game 5 on Saturday night.

Sharp pumped his right arm after his 33rd career playoff goal, and then fell down near the boards.

"It's a little embarrassing, not proud about it," Sharp said after practice on Friday. "I was excited. It was a big goal. I thought it might have been the difference in the game, so I was just showing my excitement. Probably could have been on the trainers to sharpen my skates a little bit better, though."

Patrick Kane was standing nearby when Sharp went down.

"I probably should have grabbed him when I was close to him in the corner," Kane said. "But I know when someone messes up one of my celebrations, I tend to get mad so I let him go. Now, he's saying I should have grabbed him. It was pretty funny, especially at the end."

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WEAK GLOVE? Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford isn't sure what he can do to protect his glove side.

For that matter, he's not sure he even wants to do anything about it.

All five of Boston's goals were to his glove side in Game 4, and while Crawford planned to look at the video, he doesn't want to overcompensate.

"We see they're shooting on the side a lot more, but for me, nothing changes," he said. "I can't cheat to that side ... because it's just going to get me in trouble. Last series it was the blocker side, so it's just something they're shooting a lot more and I'm just going to keep playing my game."

Meanwhile, Boston coach Claude Julien insisted the Bruins weren't targeting his glove, that they were just taking advantage of their openings.

"We happened to shoot there because that's where the opening was at that time," he said. "But I think you can score on other areas, hopefully, on Corey Crawford, than just the glove. It's just one of those games where a lot of them went in on that side."

The five goals allowed matched a season-high for Crawford, who has otherwise been terrific in the postseason.

He still has a .931 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average in the playoffs even after that rough outing. And coach Joel Quenneville insisted this week he's not considering a switch to Ray Emery.

"I didn't play the puck as well as I would have liked to . just the little things," Crawford said. "We'll look at it, we'll look at the video. It was a game where it was a battle and you just had to battle through it, and our guys did an awesome job."

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HOSSA RESTS: Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said not to read too much into Marian Hossa sitting out practice on Friday.

"We did that at the morning skate the other day, Hossa's fine," he said.

Hossa was a late scratch from Game 3 because of an upper body injury. He returned for Game 4 and assisted on Patrick Sharp's goal in the third period to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead. Chicago went on to win in overtime.

Even though Hossa's dealing with an injury, Quenneville insisted he can still be a big contributor.

"All areas, we're going to be leaning on him," Quenneville said. "No matter where we put him, we know he's going to get the job done. I would expect him to be feeling a lot more comfortable going into (Saturday's) game."

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READY LEDDY: Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy says he's simply trying to maintain his focus and stay ready after seeing his ice time dwindle. He went from playing 36 shifts and 26 minutes in a triple-overtime win in Game 1 to just four shifts and 2:37 in Game 4.

"I just got to stay focused and when I'm needed, I'll be ready," said Leddy, who talked to the coaching staff.

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HE SAID IT: Julien on his team's poise: "Panic isn't something our team does."

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