The Chicago Blackhawks emerged as victors in one of the strangest games of the season. After completely dominating for the entirety of the 1st period, the wheels seemed to have fallen off in the 2nd period, which made the 3rd frame much more exciting than initially anticipated. All in all, they led the Coyotes when all was said and done, and also snapped their three-game losing streak. Breakdown below:
The Blackhawks played their best hockey of the season in the first twenty minutes of play last night, eventually finishing it with a commanding 3-0 lead. Goals came from Patrick Kane (8:44) on the power play, Ryan Hartman (9:56), and Marian Hossa (14:15) on the power play as well. Assists were given to Keith and Toews for the first goal, Keith and Desjardins (1st point on the season) for the second, and Panarin and Seabrook for the third. The period was all Blackhawks, and it seemed like the game was going to get even uglier. Shot totals were 14-6 in favor of Chicago.
This period was an odd one. Jonathan Toews started it off by taking a tripping penalty just ten seconds in, only to be followed by an Artem Anisimov delay-of-game infraction nine seconds after that. The Blackhawks couldn’t kill the 5-on-3 advantage, and Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson cashed in at 1:36 (Vrbata, Stone). Just 1:10 later, Niklas Hjalmarsson was called for delay-of-game as well, though the Hawks were able to kill the penalty this time. After taking three penalties in the first three minutes of the game, it would only make sense for the Blackhawks to score next. Artemi Panarin, after a beautiful three-way passing play, fired a one timer over the left shoulder of goaltender Mike Smith to put the Blackhawks up 4-1. Arizona responded later in the period with two strikes in rapid fashion. Christian Dvorak at 14:24 (Doan, Perlini) and then Brendan Perlini at 15:51 (Dvorak, Goligoski) made what seemed to be a sure Blackhawks blowout, a 4-3 contest with an entire period to go. The period would not complete before a third Blackhawks delay-of-game penalty. This time the culprit was Brian Campbell, but luckily the penalty taken at 16:26 was killed off by the Hawks. The period finally ended and Chicago led by one. This time Arizona outshot the Hawks 14-6.
The Blackhawks played their typical 3rd period style, and sat back to defend their lead. Both teams had a power-play opportunity but could not cash in. This time it didn’t cost them. Shot totals were 7-6 in favor of Arizona in the period, and Corey Crawford stopped them all. The Blackhawks won the game 4-3 in front of what looked like more Blackhawks than Coyotes fans. The amount of Blackhawks fans at these games in Glendale seem to grow every year (thanks, winter). Chicago improves to 31-17-5, while Arizona falls to 16-28-6. It wasn’t a complete sixty-minute win, but the Hawks will take their two-point reward and hopefully learn a thing or two from their performance.
The Blackhawks travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on Saturday night at 7:00 pm CST, another highly-beatable team that Chicago needs to take advantage of.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri