The first shift of the game for the Blackhawks was great.
The six minutes that followed were not.
After the line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad held the puck in the offensive zone for more than 40 seconds, the Capitals turned the ice around and took advantage of an awful first change. Tom Wilson, fresh off his lengthy suspension for being a turd, scored the first goal of the night and promptly ran over Corey Crawford.
Thankfully, Crawford was OK. Sadly, nobody in the road white jerseys appeared to care that the only guy keeping them within smelling distance of a playoff spot just got trucked by a repeat offender.
Less than six minutes later, Andre Burakovsky scored a power play goal off a pretty feed from Jakub Vrana to make it 2-0 Washington.
When 20 minutes were in the books, the Hawks actually had a 14-12 shot advantage.
Vrana picked up his second assist of the night nearly ten minutes into the second period when he set up former Blackhawk Michal Kempny for his first goal of the year. The smile on Kempny’s face was a mile wide – almost as big as the three-goal margin felt for Hawks fans.
But two minutes later, Saad decided to give us a strong, physical move to the net and score for a third consecutive game.
Toews and Duncan Keith were credited with assists on the pretty goal from Saad, who now has seven goals on the year.
At the end of two periods, Chicago had a 24-21 shot advantage. The Hawks held their own in the second period and looked to cut into the lead again as the third period began.
Five minutes into the third, the Hawks were able to get within one. Erik Gustafsson made a tricky play settling down a bouncing puck and put home his second goal of the year.
Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov picked up the helpers on the Gustafsson goal.
Chicago wouldn’t get any closer. Devante Smith-Pelly put the lead back to two less than two minutes after the Gustafsson goal and that’s where the score would finish.
Saad skated more than 22 minutes. Toews more than 23. And Kane almost 25. Alex DeBrincat was a fourth Chicago forward to skate more than 20 minutes in the game.
Chicago’s bottom line of John Hayden (2:45), Andreas Martinsen (4:13) and Marcus Kruger (6:55) barely made a dent in the box score. Martinsen did find a way to take a penalty, however.
Dominik Kahun was the only Hawks forward to not put a shot on net. Alexandre Fortin led Chicago with three hits.
Four of Chicago’s defensemen blocked two shots each. Brent Seabrook was credited with a team-leading nine shots on net in the game.