Whose idea was it to play 3-on-3 in overtime? The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins put on a heart attack clinic tonight as they skated into overtime tied at 2. In the end, Artemi Panarin, 'The Breadman' deposited a shot over Penguin goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, in what we would like to call 'The Breadbasket' to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 overtime win.
The game was dominated by Pittsburgh for most of the game. It was the play of Corey Crawford that kept the Hawks in the game and also in overtime. It was a goalie win tonight.
The first period was fast paced and did not have a lot of whistles. Both teams played the puck possession game and both teams had good chances, but the goalies denied any goals as the period ended scoreless.
In the 2nd, Pittsburgh started to tilt the ice to the Blackhawks end and peppered Crawford with 14 shots throughout the period, but Crawford stopped them all. The rest of his team did not help much as they turned over the puck and played sloppy continuously throughout the period. During a pressure-filled sequence, the Penguins pinched in too close as the Hawks wound up with a 2-on-1 chance with Patrick Kane and Panarin. It doesn't take much to know what happened next. Kane saucered a pass to the Breadman who slapped a one-timer just beyond the reach of Fleury to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. At the end of the period, Brent Seabrook sent a slapshot toward the net that bounced off of Jonathan Toews in front and across the goal line to put the Hawks up 2-0 at the end of two periods.
As the 3rd started, one knew that the Penguins would be putting their jets into overdrive to get back into the game that they had controlled for most of the game. It took just under 6 minutes, when Sidney Crosby snapped a shot over the right shoulder of Crawford to put Pittsburgh on the board at 2-1. On Crosby's next shift, he almost tied the game with a backhand shot that beat Crawford over his right shoulder again, but this time found the goal post. Kris Letang would get the equalizer with just under 3 minutes left to tie the game and force overtime.
Overtime consisted of 5 shots a piece as each team had golden opportunities. For over 3 1/2 minutes, both teams raced back and forth blasting shots and both goalies, repelling them away. It took Panarin to finish off the chaos and bring everyone's blood pressure back to normal as the Hawks escaped with not just 1 point, but 2, in a night where they could have easily have come up empty if not for Crawford.
That was so much fun, can't wait for the rematch.....TOMORROW at the United Center.
Notable mentions: With tonight's win, the Hawks leapfrog the St. Louis Blues for 2nd place in the division with a game in hand. Toews' goal tonight gives him points in his last 5 games (3G 2A) and 7 of his last 9 games (5G 4A). Panarin's 2 goals tonight gives him 5 points in his last 4 games (4G 1A).
Three Stars of The Game
1st - CHI - Artemi Panarin - 2G
2nd - PIT - Sidney Crosby - (1G 1A) 7 shots
3rd - CHI - Jonathan Toews - 1G
Next game: Tomorrow, January 6th, Home vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7PM CT
LET'S GO HAWKS!!!