After the Chicago Blackhawks were embarrassed in a 6-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, coach Joel Quenneville was asked what he could do to refocus his players for the final 26 games of the season.
"The guys that work are going to deserve to get more ice time, and more quality ice time," Quenneville told reporters.
Quenneville was true to his word as he promoted Tommy Wingels to the top line, and he kept Wingels and Lance Bouma on the power play Tuesday night when the Hawks took on the best-in-the-West Vegas Golden Knights.
Wingels played like his hair was fire, scoring 2:10 into the game and showing up all over the ice during the first 40 minutes, but Jeff Glass allowed 3 goals on Vegas' first 3 third-period shots and the reeling Hawks fell 5-2.
The Hawks led 2-1 after two periods and were thoroughly outplaying Vegas, but Brad Hunt, Reilly Smith and David Perron scored three minutes and 40 seconds apart to send Quenneville's squad to its seventh straight loss. The Hawks have scored 2 goals or fewer in 12 of their last 15 games.
Alex DeBrincat recorded the Hawks' other goal at 6:37 of the second period after a solid shift by his line, which included Patrick Sharp and Ryan Hartman. DeBrincat is tied with Patrick Kane for the team lead with 21 goals.
Wingels, who has 7 goals, hadn't scored in 20 straight games and was a healthy scratch in three of the previous 10 contests.
Asked for his reaction to playing with Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews, Wingels told NBCSCH: "It feels great. Every player who plays this game wants to play as much as they can. So even if you're a third- or fourth-line guy, you try to work to get more ice time. …
"If coach wants to put me out there a little bit more, I'm happy to do that."
Wingels finished with 4 shots on goal in 13:40, while Bouma played 14:10 and saw almost two minutes on the power play.
"I look at Wings and Boums and they came back in (to the lineup) with a purpose," Quenneville said Monday. "Net-front presence on our power play has been way more effective than it's been, and those guys are getting a little greasier. You get rewarded."
Sharp, who couldn't beat Marc-Andre Fleury on a penalty shot with 17:01 left in the second period, assisted on DeBrincat's goal. It was his first point since Game 42.
The Hawks (24-25-8) begin a five-game homestand against Anaheim on Thursday.
Fleury made 29 saves as Vegas improved to 37-15-4 and 20-4-2 at home.