It took them roughly 15 minutes to show up, but the Blackhawks once again handled their business against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Corey Crawford had another strong game, allowing a goal in the first period against a Blue Jackets rush that was more consistent than the offense the Blackhawks offered through the first two periods. A late third period goal for Columbus (with an extra attacker on with the net empty for the Jackets) means Crawford has allowed two goals in all four of his starts this season.
Crawford made 24 saves in the game and improved his record to 4-0-0 on the season.
The Hawks were flat for the first 15 minutes, but a bad boarding penalty by Jack Johnson on Dave Bolland fired up Bolland and his teammates. Bolland took a bad slashing penalty that wiped away the would-be power play for the Hawks, but picked up a soft rebound off a Patrick Kane rush to tie the game within seconds of leaving the box.
Kane continued his incredible start with assists on Bolland’s goal and, early in the third period, on Jonathan Toews’ game-winning tally. Marian Hossa was credited with the second assist on Toews’ goal.
Columbus played the Hawks tough through the first 40 minutes, but stupid penalties cost them what should have been a four-minute double-minor on Bolland in the third; two quick penalties turned a potentially short-handed situation for Chicago into a 4-on-3 powerplay.
The Hawks’ second goal came off the stick of Bryan Bickell, who tipped in a shot from Niklas Hjalmarsson in the middle of the second period. Michael Frolik continued his strong play to begin the season throughout the game, and was credited with the secondary assist on Bickell’s goal.
The game was not without controversy, as the Jackets had a power play goal wiped away on a questionable (read: terrible) call in the second period. That goal would end up the difference in the contest.
Nick Leddy failed to post an assist for the first time in five games, but the Hawks coaching staff spread out the ice time among their defensemen yet again. Duncan Keith led the way with 25:35, but once again Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya were all between 21 and 24 minutes in the game.
Chicago comes home to face the Detroit Red Wings for the first time on Sunday.