Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Crawford, Panik Lead Blackhawks to 2-1 SO Victory Against Panthers

The Chicago Blackhawks came home from the annual circus trip, beat up, but with a 3-3-1 record on the trip.  The first game after the circus trip is not always a good thing.  The Florida Panthers came into the United Center after firing head coach, Gerard Gallant after a mediocre start to the year.

It took till a shootout before the Hawks came up with the 2-1 shootout victory.  Corey Crawford had 38 saves and Richard Panik had 2 goals, including the shootout winner.

The Panthers came out controlling almost every part of the 1st period, except the most important stat, the score.  Panik broke out of a 17-game scoreless streak as he capitalized on a loose puck and deked Panther goalie, Roberto Luongo, to get the Blackhawks on the board late in the period, and a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Crawford and Luongo starred in the 2nd period as they both made some great saves to keep the puck out of the net.

In the 3rd, it was the ageless wonder, Jaromir Jagr, who took a rebound during a Panther power play, and poked it past Crawford to tie the game at 1.  For the remainder of regulation, it turned into a goalie clinic between Crawford and Luongo, as the game headed  to overtime.  Florida had over a minute of power play time during the OT, but the Hawks killed the penalty.  In the last seconds, Crawford came up huge again to stop a breakaway to force things to a shootout.

In the first round, Patrick Kane was stopped by Luongo.  Crawford then stopped Vincent Trochek.  Artemi Panarin was up for the Hawks in the 2nd round and deked Luongo with a filthy move into an open net.  Crawford then stopped Aleksander Barkov.  It was up to Richard Panik to get the game-winner, and he did so with a quick wrist shot that beat Luongo.

Notable Mentions:  Jaromir Jagr scored his 753rd career goal in the 3rd period.  Artem Anisimov left the game in the 3rd period when he took a Duncan Keith slapshot off the inside of his right ankle.  The Hawks blocked 18 shots during the game.  Brian Campbell with 5, and Niklas Hjalmarsson with 4, led the way.

3 Stars of The Game
1st - CHI - Corey Crawford - 38 saves, .974 SV%
 2nd - CHI - Artemi Panarin - SO goal
3rd - FLA - Roberto Luongo - 33 saves, .970 SV%

Next game: Thursday, December 1st, Home vs. New Jersey Devils (10-7-5), 7:30PM CT, TV-CSN-CH, RADIO - WGN720AM


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blackhawks' Youth Sparks 3rd Period Comeback Against Cancuks, 4-3 in OT

For those who went to bed early last night, myself included, SURPRISE!!  HAWKS WIN!!  

Vinnie Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman tallied 3rd period goals along with Artemi Panarin to help the Blackhawks erase a 3 goal deficit.  Marian Hossa finished off the comeback in overtime with his 2nd consecutive GWG, as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3.

The Canucks started the scoring mid-way through the 1st period as Loui Eriksson found a rebound in front of Blackhawks' goalie, Scott Darling, and deposited it in the back of the net for a 1-0, Vancouver lead.

In the 2nd, The Blackhawks got their first powerplay in nearly 2 games, only to have Bo Horvat score short-handed to extend the Canuck lead, 2-0.  1:24 later, it was Brandon Sutter, yes, he's one of those Sutters, on a one-timer that beat Darling, stick-high, to make it 3-0 after two periods.  The Blackhawks had a total of 11 shots through 40 minutes.

One has to wonder the "talks" that go on between periods.  The Blackhawks came out in the 3rd and threw 17 shots on Canuck goaltender, Jacob Markstrom.  Panarin and Patrick Kane played catch across the ice on a give and go, and Panarin buried a one-timer to get the Hawks on the board 2:53 into the period.  1:13 later, it was Hinostroza collecting a rebound of his own, to make it a 1 goal game on his first career NHL goal.  

It stayed that will till there was less than 5 minutes remaining in regulation when Hartman was fed a nice pass from Hinostroza, that beat Markstrom, stick side to tie the game at 3.  It was Hartman's 4th of the season.

The game headed to overtime, where heart attacks are made.  Just :30 in, Jonathan Toews beat Markstrom for the apparent game-winner, only to find that the goal was disallowed when Niklas Hjalmarsson was offside, ahead of the play.  Vancouver had glorious scoring chances after that.  Markus Granlund on a 2-on-1, got Duncan Keith to go down, toe-dragged himself in front of the net, only to have Darling sprawled out to knock the puck away.  The Sedin's then hooked up, only to ring the post. Darling then stopped Erikkson who was in alone on a breakaway.  (Who are these people that say hockey is boring?)

Then, with under a minute remaining in overtime, it was Hossa, from the top of the slot, wristing the puck beyond Markstrom, through an Alexander Edler screen, for the game-winner.

Notable Mentions: For Hinostroza, it was a night to remember (1G 2A).  In his first 16 NHL games, zero points.  Hossa has been on a tear.  In his last 12 games (10G 3A).  3 of those goals were GWGs.  Hossa has 81 career GWGs, (14 in OT).  Darling had 24 saves in a game where the Hawks would never have gotten to overtime.  There was a lot of "goalie" to go around last night.  Both Darling and Markstrom stand 6'6".  Blackhawks are now 18-1-2 in their last 21 games against Canadian teams.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - CHI - Vinnie Hinostroza - (1G 2A)
2nd - CHI - Patrick Kane - 1A, 7 shots
3rd - VAN - Bo Horvat - 1 SHG

Next Game: Monday, November 21st, Away vs. Edmonton Oilers (10-8-1), TV - CSN-CH, Radio - 720 WGN-AM


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Kane's Highlight Reel Goal Lifts Blackhawks Over Canadiens, 3-2.

A classic Original Six matchup at the United Center brought the Eastern Conference leading Montreal Canadiens (13-1-1) and Andrew Shaw against the Western Conference leading Chicago Blackhawks (10-3-2).  Although Shaw was a presence all night (6 shots, 9 hits), it was a highlight reel goal from Patrick Kane that was the deciding goal in a 3-2 win.

Gustav Forsling got the scoring started with his first career NHL goal on a slapshot from the point that had eyes as it made its way past Canadiens goalie, Al Montoya.

It stayed that way till the 2nd, when Montreal scored two quick goals to start the period.  Shea Weber with a toss pass to the net, deflected off of Michal Kempny's stick and over Crawford's shoulder.  Then, Andrei Markov unloaded a high shot from the slot that sailed over Crawford for a 2-1 Canadien lead.

Half way through the 2nd, it was Marian Hossa picking up a dirty rebound and slamming it past Montoya to tie the game.  Five minutes later, Kane performed a deke around two Candiens.  Then while getting pushed down, he flipped the puck over the left shoulder of Montoya for a goal that is worthy of Goal Of The Year.  It proved to be the game-winner although controversy went with it.  Prior to the goal, a shot deflected off the netting, but play continued .  Kane scored shortly afterwards.  Coach Joel Quenneville on Kane's goal: "That had the wow factor all over it."

Crawford made 21 saves and had another stellar night of point blank stops.  Hossa, when asked about Crawford's play:  "This is the best I've seen him play. He's had really great years before, but right now he's at a different level."

Notable mentions: The Blackhawks blocked 22 shots tonight.  Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, both, stopped 5 shots each.  The win continues the Hawks' consecutive point streak to 11 games (9-0-2, 20 pts).  Jonathan Toews has 10 pts (4G 6A) in his last 9 games.  The Blackhawks hit the road for a 7-game road trip after tonight.

Three Stars of the Game
1st - CHI - Patrick Kane - 1G
2nd - CHI - Jonathan Toews - 2A, 67% FO%, 3 TK, 1 BS
3rd - MTL - Andrei Markov - (1G 1A)

Next game: Wednesday, November 16th, Away vs. Winnipeg Jets, 7pm CT, TV - CSN-CH, RADIO - 720AM-WGN


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Crawford's Goalie Clinic, Panarin's Gordie Howe Hat Trick Tops Blues, 2-1, in OT

Artemi Panarin had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (1G 1A, 1 fight), yes, you heard me, FIGHT.  Corey Crawford put on a goalie clinic with 27 saves and was within 2:11 from getting his 3rd shutout of the season, but the Chicago Blackhawks prevailed in overtime against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center, 2-1 for their 7th win in a row.

Blues goaltender, Jake Allen stopped 28 shots and traded save for save with Crawford throughout the game.  The first period ended scoreless and it wasn't until 1:22 into the 2nd period, when Marian Hossa scooped up a juicy rebound from a Gustav Forsling shot, to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead on his 7th goal of the year.

Crawford shined in the 2nd period with numerous point blank saves, including a stretched out toe save from a one-timer from Vladimir Tarasenko in the slot.  The period ended, 1-0 going into the 3rd.

Again Crawford and Allen traded save for save as both goalies were very good tonight.  Artemi Panarin traded blows with Scottie Upshall late in the period and the Breadman stood his ground.  Who knew?  After he went to serve his 5 minutes, and with Jori Lehtera screening Crawford, a Alex Pietrangelo slapshot made its way through the legs of Crawford and trickled in the net to tie the game at 1 with 2:11 remaining in regulation.  While Panarin served his penalty, he was missed on a Blackhawks power play.

With 1:36 left, Pietrangelo was called for a delay of game penalty as he flipped a puck into the stands.  With Panarin still in the box, regulation ended and the game headed to overtime.

With his penalty served and a stoppage of play, Panarin wristed a shot from the top of the faceoff dot, with Jonathan Toews screening Allen in front of the net, and netted it over the left shoulder of Allen for the game-winner.  It was his 6th goal of the year.

Notable Mentions:  Artem Anisimov left the game late in the 2nd period with an upper body injury.  He is listed as day to day.  His career high, 11-game scoring streak comes to an end.  With their win, the Hawks are sitting 1st in the Western Conference with a 10-3-1 record.

Three Stars of The Game
 1st - CHI - Corey Crawford - 27 Saves, .964 SV%,
2nd - STL - Jake Allen - 28 Saves, .933 SV%
3rd - CHI - Artemi Panarin - (Gordie Howe Hat Trick) (1G 1A, 1 Fight), 6 shots

Next game: Friday, November 11th, Home Vs. Washington Capitals (8-3-1) 7:30pm CT, TV - CSN-CH, RADIO - WGN AM720


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hossa's Milestone Pushes The Hawks to 6th Straight Victory, 4-3 in OT Over Stars

The Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars faced off in the second half of a home and home series at the United Center tonight.  The Hawks won their 6th straight game as they shot down the Stars, 4-3 in overtime thanks to Marian Hossa's game-winning goal, his 1100th career point.  Scott Darling made 32 huge saves, and Jonathan Toews chipped in with 3 points (1G 2A) to lead the Hawks.

It didn't start well for the Hawks when Tyler Seguin cashed in on a Stars power play to give them a 1-0 lead after one period.  Then in the second, the power play failed the Hawks this time has Gemel Smith,on a breakaway, while short-handed, flipped a backhand shot past Darling to make it 2-0, Stars.

Just under two minutes later, the Hawks got on the board.  Toews, threw a nice saucer pass to Patrick Kane, and put him in alone, as he flipped a back-hander of his own past the sprawling Kari Lehtonen, to cut the lead to 2-1, at the end of two periods.

Then, the Hawks struck twice in the first five minutes of the 3rd.  Within :56, Toews received a brilliant fake shot/pass from Hossa to tie the game at 2.  Then, it was time for an Arty Party, as Artem Anisimov took a rebound shot from Toews, and slammed it in the back of the net to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.

It wouldn't stay that way, as the Stars pulled Lehtonen for the extra attacker and struck with 1:20 remaining in regulation on a neat deflection from Smith again, his first two career NHL goals.  Both, very nice.

It would go to overtime, The Hawks had to kill off a Kane hooking penalty.  Only to see Darling sprawl out for a textbook example of a skate save, before Hossa slapped a shot from the point, with Anisimov blocking every inch of Lehtonen from seeing the shot for the game-winner.

Notable Mentions: Anisimov has now scored in 11 straight games (8G 9A) and leads the NHL in goals and points.  Tyler Motte did not return after getting run into the boards hard in the second period.  Toews was a beast tonight (1G 2A), 7 shots, 2 hits, and won 73% of faceoffs (19 of 26) and lead forwards with 23:07 TOI.  Darling approved his record to 4-0 with the victory tonight.

Three Stars of the Game
1st - CHI - Marian Hossa - (1G 1A), +2
2nd - DAL - Gemel Smith - (2G), +2, 6 shots
3rd - CHI - Jonathan Toews - (1G 2A), 7 shots, 2 hits, 73% FO%, 23:07 TOI 

Next game: Wednesday, November 9th, Away vs. St. Louis Blues, 7PM CT, TV - NBCSN, RADIO - WGN 720AM


Kane Lifts Blackhawks To 3-2 Victory Over Stars

The Chicago Blackhawks won their 5th game in a row by topping the Dallas Stars, 3-2 in the first half of a home and home series.  Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots.

It didn't take long for the Hawks to get on the board.  Just :11 seconds in, Richard Panik scored his 7th of the season, as he poked one past Stars goaltender, Antti Niemi.  The Stars would double that later in the period on a pair of goals by Brett Ritchie, and Curtis McKenzie, giving the Stars a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd period.

In the 2nd, the Hawks tied the game on a Ryan Hartman slapshot over the shoulder of Niemi.  Tyler Motte's initial shot grazed the crossbar and rolled straight to Hartman.  Shortly after, on a power play, Kane gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead on his 4th goal of the year on a one-timer from Artem Anisimov.

"It was a great play by [Anisimov] at the net, finally came out on the weak side there," Toews said.

From then on, it was the Corey Crawford show as he stopped 12 shots in the 3rd period.  Within the last 2 minutes, Marcus Kruger was called for a 4-minute double-minor penalty.  With the Hawks down a man, and the Stars with an extra attacker on the ice once they brought Niemi to the bench, the Hawks had to fight off a 6-on-4 power play to win the game.

"You don't want to be in that situation at the end, but our guys played it really well," stated Crawford after the game. "They stayed patient, especially with the extra man on for them. Our PK has been really confident of late. That was another solid win for us."

Notable Mentions:  The Blackhawks penalty killing unit has definitely been playing well as of late.  They've killed off their last 15 penalties.  Artem Anisimov's assist on Kane's goal, extends his career high point streak to 10 games (7G 8A). Niklas Hjalmarsson recorded 8 blocked shots in the game.  Ryan Hartman, had possibly his best game as a pro last night.  He was a agitating presence on the ice with 3 big hits to go with his goal.  They were hoping he would be the replacement for Andrew Shaw.  The :11 goal to start the game was the 2nd fastest goal in team history (:08 Brent Sutter, 2/5/95, @VAN).

Three Stars of The Game:
1st - CHI - Patrick Kane (1G 1A)
2nd - DAL - Curtis McKenzie (1G, 4 hits)
3rd - CHI - Ryan Hartman (1G, 3 hits)

Next Game: Sunday, 11/06/16 - Home, vs. Dallas Stars (4-5-2), 6pm CT, TV - CSN-CH, Radio - WGN 720AM


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Crawford Shines, Hossa Powers Blackhawks To 4-0 Shutout

The Chicago Blackhawks entered tonight's game 6-1-1, after starting the season, 0-2-1.  They had killed 12 of 13 penalties after starting the season killing just 9 of 23.  Needless to say, the Hawks have started to hit their stride.  With the first of four divisional games tonight, starting with the Colorado Avalanche, it couldn't come at a better time.

Corey Crawford, once again, was the story as the Hawks shutout the Avs, 4-0 behind Crawford's 38 saves.  He needed to be strong early as he stopped 12 shots in the 1st period, before Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa teamed up to score two quick goals :38 apart, to give the Hawks a lead after the 1st period, 2-0.  Colorado had the better play in the period, but Crawford kept them off the scoresheet early.

The second period saw Crawford come up with another 14 saves as the Avs peppered the Blackhawks net in a scoreless period.

In the 3rd, Hossa struck for a second time from a stretch pass from Duncan Keith to extend the lead to 3-0.  When Coach Joel Quenneville was asked about Hossa's play: "He never really looks like he's slowing down at any time."

Artemi Panarin scored his 5th of the year from a feed from...wait for it...Patrick Kane to finish the scoring.

It was the Hawks' 4th straight win.  Coach Q knows that it hasn't been pretty: "We've had cleaner wins".

Notable Mentions: Crawford in his last 3 games: 3-0-0, .990 SV%, 0.33 GAA, 2 SO  Artem Anisimov's assist on the first Blackhawks goal, extended his scoring streak to a career best, 9 games (7G 7A).

Three Stars Of The Game
#1 Star - Corey Crawford (38 Saves)
#2 Star - Marian Hossa (2G, +2)
#3 Star - Duncan Keith (2A, +2, 24:07 TOI)

Next Game: Saturday, November 5th, Away vs. Dallas Stars (4-4-2) 7PM CDT, TV/RADIO - WGN