Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blackhawks Edge Capitals, 3-2, In Early Matinee

Two of the top teams in the NHL had an early matinee at the United Center today as the Washington Capitals visited the Chicago Blackhawks.  Some say that this could be a preview to a Stanley Cup Final matchup.  If so, everyone is in for a treat as both teams played tough, but the Blackhawks squeaked out with a 3-2 victory.

The 1st period was fast-paced.  Braden Holtby was tested by the Blackhawks often.  The Caps would strike first on the power play as Marcus Johansson, knocked in a rebound of a Justin Williams slapshot from the slot that was initially saved by Corey Crawford, to give Washington a 1-0 lead.  That lead would not last long as Patrick Kane knotted the score with a nice deke move in front of the net to slide one by Holtby, just :31 later.  The period would end tied with shots favoring the Capitals, 16-6.

The 2nd period saw the Blackhawks have a bit more jump in their game as they flipped the SOG advantage in the period by outshooting the Caps, 14-4.  The Blackhawks had two power plays in the period, and on the 2nd one, they cashed in.  Newly, re-acquainted, Andrew Ladd caused havoc in front of the net, a loose puck went to Teuvo Teravainen, who made a nice pass to Jonathan Toews, who buried it in the back of the net to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd period.

In the 3rd, Washington tested Crawford early and he was up for the challenge.  The Blackhawks had to work through a 4-on-3 penalty kill and was able to get through it half way through the period.  With just under 8 minutes remaining in the period, a non-icing call turned into a board battle win by Richard Panik, who centered a pass to Dennis Rasmussen who wristed a shot past Holtby to make it 3-1 Hawks.  Washington would come back do to two stupid penalties (Too Many Men, Unsportsmanlike Conduct), resulting in a 5-on-3 Power play goal by Evgeny Kuznetsov, to bring the game to 3-2.  The Hawks were able to hold off the Caps for the victory.

Notable mentions: Corey Crawford tied a career high with his 33rd win on the season.  Jonathan Toews was 18-4 at the face-off dot today.  Teuvo Teravainen played his first game with newly acquired Tomas Fleischmann and it was one of the most consistent lines for the Hawks today.  cant wait to see how Dale Weise compliments that line even more.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - CHI - Teuvo Teravainen - 1A, 4 shots
2nd - CHI - Dennis Rasmussen - 1G, 3 hits
3rd - WAS - Marcus Johansson - 1G, 4 shots, 4 hits

Next Game:  Wednesday, March 2nd, At Detroit Red Wings, 7PM CT


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