The Blackhawks faced Niklas Hjalmarsson as an opponent for the first time on Saturday night, visiting the Coyotes in Arizona. The homecoming wasn’t as emotional for Connor Murphy.
There wasn’t much 5-on-5 play in the opening 20 minutes because of a parade to the penalty box by both teams. Christian Fischer’s second of the year at 7:47 came at even strength but then things went off the rails quickly.
Kevin Connauton went to the box at 8:24 into the first and Chicago responded quickly. Richard Panik scored his fifth of the season off assists from Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews to tie the game 24 seconds into the power play – and 61 seconds after the Fischer goal.
After the Panik goal the Blackhawks started taking turns in the penalty box. At 11:10 Tommy Wingels was called for interference and Lance Bouma got caught hooking. The two simultaneous penalties put the Blackhawks down two men for two full minutes, a matter that was complicated even further when Jan Rutta was called for high-sticking 33 seconds later.
Rutta couldn’t start serving his penalty until the other two came to a conclusion (which, thankfully happened without Arizona scoring). Eight seconds after Wingels and Bouma left the penalty box, Seabrook went away for slashing. Thankfully for Chicago Max Domi was sent off at 12:55 for tripping.
When the dust settled from an ugly first period, the score was tied at one and Arizona held an 11-10 shot advantage. But during their extended two-man advantage, the Coyotes only managed one shot on net.
At 11:32 into the second, Toews sprung Patrick Kane and 88 converted for his fourth of the season.
With his second assist of the night, Toews now has two multi-point games in nine contests to start the new season.
Domi was called for the only penalty of the second period, giving Tommy Wingels a penalty shot at 17:24. It appeared that Wingels had scored to give Chicago a 3-1 lead, but it was ruled that Louis Domingue had touched the puck before Wingels got the shot off which wiped the goal off the board.
The Hawks held the lead for almost seven minutes until Clayton Keller found a loose puck on the doorstep and beat Corey Crawford for his sixth already this year.
Arizona held onto a 21-19 shot advantage through 40 minutes of action.
It took more than ten minutes for someone to go to the box in the third, but Panik tripped Keller at 10:04 and took a seat. The Hawks successfully killed this penalty but Arizona got two(!) shots on net during this two minute advantage.
With 4:24 left in regulation, the Hawks had their fourth line on the ice and they made an impact. Duncan Keith put a shot on net that bounced off a couple bodies and ended up to the side of the cage. Lance Bouma found the loose puck and put home his first goal in a Chicago jersey to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead late in the third.
With a minute to go and Domingue on the bench for the extra attacker, Wingels scored a goal they couldn’t take away and the Blackhawks took a 4-2 lead.
Wingles finished the night with a goal and an assist and led the Hawks with four hits while winning four of nine faceoffs.
Domi took a run at Ryan Hartman with 20 seconds left and was whistled for his third penalty of the night. Murphy didn’t appreciate his former teammate leaving his feet to take a cheap shot late in a loss and went after Domi, which earned him a sticktap on the ass from Toews as he left the ice for the showers with 16 seconds left in regulation.
Keith had two assists in the game and Bouma added an assist on Wingels’ empty net goal to give him two points in the game as well. Gustav Forsling led Chicago with four blocked shots in the game.
Crawford improved to 5-2-0 on the season with his 27-save performance.
Hjalmarsson blocked four shots in 22:05 for Arizona.