Early in the second period, Corey Crawford skated off the ice and Ray Emery replaced him between the pipes for the Hawks. It felt like a week before, when the lifeless Hawks failed to show up and got hammered by the visiting Coyotes.
This time, things were different. And it’s because of Jonathan Toews.
Toews scored twice and had a gorgeous primary assist on Patrick Kane’s game-tying goal, all in a span of just over 11 minutes in the second period as the Blackhawks once again fought their way back from a big hole to extend the game. The Captain also won 15 of 17 faceoffs (88.2 percent).
Unfortunately, the great momentum the Blackhawks had carried over into a break-even third period and a strong overtime, but not into the shoot out. The Coyotes scored on their first two attempts and Mike Smith stopped Toews and Marian Hossa’s attempts to earn the second point.
Dan Carcillo was credited with a team-high seven hits as the Blackhawks (wait for it…) out hit the Coyotes 28-23. The box score wasn’t great for Ben Smith (three shots, one takeaway, one hit, minus-two), but he drew two critical penalties. Toews’ second goal was scored on the power play resulting from the first penalty drawn by Smith.
Marcus Kruger had a strong game as well. He didn’t factor in the scoring, and won just four of eight faceoffs, but he was clearly irritating the Coyotes every time he stepped on the ice. His presence in front of the net was getting attention from more than one opponent on every stopped puck, something Dave Bolland used to do.
Crawford was pulled after allowing three goals in 16 shots and only 21:08 into the game. Emery stopped all 11 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, but was 0-2 in the critical shoot out. The question now is, after a strong game from Emery in St. Louis, does the would-be backup start getting more ice time, or was the move to pull Crawford completely motivational.