Blackhawks Stay Hot, Sink Islanders

Jonathan Toews got the party started with a two-goal first period and the Blackhawks received another stunning performance between the pipes from Corey Crawford in a 4-1 home victory.

Toews had a four-point night, adding assists on two goals from Marian Hossa as the Blackhawks’ top line dominated the entire night. Patrick Sharp picked up two assists to give the line eight points in the victory.

With Patrick Kane on the shelf, the Hawks captain now has nine points (four goals, five assists) and Hossa has seven points (four goals, three assists) in six games in the month of March.

Unfortunately, 5:30 into the second period and with his team leading by two, Andrew Shaw head butted Brock Nelson and was give a five-minute major and a game misconduct. The five minute power play could have been a game-changer for the visitors, but the Hawks turned in a magnificent kill that yielded only one shot on net. When Hossa scored his first of the game – and 20th of the season – late in the period, the Islanders were effectively buried.

Hossa added his 21st of the season only 57 seconds into the period, and the Hawks were able to hang on the rest of the way.

Crawford was fantastic against the second-ranked offense in the NHL. Nikolay Kulemin beat him 5:29 into the third to end Crawford’s shutout bid, but he stood strong against a number of good opportunities and loose pucks in traffic in front of the net to win the game.

The Blackhawks netminder has been sensational in March, and Tuesday night’s win pushed his mark in the month to 5-0-1 (the only loss being a 1-0 defeat in a shootout). His 37-save performance against the Islanders improved his save percentage to .961 in March.

Toews won 13 of 17 faceoffs to cap the exceptional night. He matched-up with the league’s leading scorer entering the night, John Tavares, and was dominant. Tavares ended the game minus-four and won only seven of 18 faceoffs.

Johnny Oduya continued to look much better since returning from injury, and played arguably his best game of the calendar year on Tuesday. Oduya skated 21:28 and picked up one assist, two blocked shots and two hits. He also made a nice play behind the Hawks’ net and got the puck out to Niklas Hjalmarsson to start a rush that ended with Toews’ second goal.

The new additions had effective games as well. Andrew Desjardins finished tied with Brent Seabrook for the team lead with four hits, Antoine Vermette finished tied with Hjalmarsson with a team-high three blocked shots, and Kimmo Timonen’s ice time picked up to almost 15 minutes in the win (he blocked one shot and was credited with one hit in the game.

Nick Leddy’s return to the United Center will have to wait until next season, as the defenseman did not play because of an upper-body injury.

One New York team visited Chicago on Tuesday, and the Hawks will visit the other on Wednesday. The Blackhawks play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.

Toews NYI

 

32 thoughts on “Blackhawks Stay Hot, Sink Islanders

  1. Nice! Time now to celebrate with a Guinness on this fine day. Crawford..world class, one of the NHL’s elite goalies, ,…any detratctors or dissing Corey get a game misconduct for being blind and just plain kookie.

  2. LOL on ER’s JT referenence…oh so true.
    27 looked pretty damned good.
    Top line…everyone saw the dominance, nothing more to be said.
    65 is a complete dumb-ass; he won’t be here next year….good riddance IMO.
    50 is hot; keep him away from concerts for the rest of the year.
    86 continues to play a nice 200 foot game.
    Me thinks 44 is starting to round into better playing shape.

  3. Here we go. Preds drop another point tonight pulling the Hawks to within 4 with 3 games in hand. They can easily make up the difference there. 5 back of the Blues and have 2 games left against them. Really looking forward to the Easter Sunday tilt vs STL. The UC should be rocking.

    Tomorrow night’s game should be a heavyweight slugfest. Rangers look like the class of the league after their deadline acquisitions and the Hawks are starting to hit their stride.

    Let’s go Hawks!

  4. Nice win against a team who seemed uninterested. Now the real test – traveling to the coast and playing the Rangers back to back. I’ll be on hand to witness what should be a good game.

  5. Hawks net minder has been sensational in March is an understatement. In the six games played in March Crow has stopped 196 of 204 shots on goal for save % of frickin .961
    Furthermore, take away the lowly Coyotes game, Crow has faced an average of over 39 shots per game. His performance in March has to be termed lights out and maybe season changing for the Hawks.

    On the down side, the Hawks MUST curtail the number of quality chances from the opposition. It does not seem possible to give up 35-40 shots and 10 scoring chances per game and win consistently. This is my biggest worry headed into the playoffs.

    So…..does Q play Crow tonight to keep his momentum going or does he give his workhorse a rest???

  6. Good news about salary cap. In case anybody didn’t see it, at GM meetings it was confirmed that, even with the low .78 Canadian loonie, the salary cap will still be in a range between 71-72m, .

  7. Another outstanding game by Crawford. The trade Crawford chatter sure has stopped. Dominance by the first line. Kudos to Q for putting 10 with the top line and for leaving the 2nd line intact. I would like to see 11 replaced by 42 now that his suspension is over. 44 needs to be replaced by 5. He is slow, does not move the puck well and gets slapped around in the corner. I am also concerned about the large number of shots on goal.

  8. With Shaw acting like a butt-head by head butting, he probably is facing a suspension.

    Nordstrom is coming off his suspension, so I see him taking Shaw’s spot until he returns.

    Big test tonight (maybe the biggest of the year) facing the Rangers in NY.

    We shall see how the Hawks stack up against the best team in the East!

  9. 7-1-1 sans 88. We obviously are a better team without him and should trade him asap, freeing up space for some much needed size and those picks we lost at deadline…..

    i just wanted to get that said, no need in waiting for it

    Bring me my Playoffs, and witness much rejoicing

  10. H1961; Nice smug dig. To clarify (again), noone has suggested trading CC during this in-season and ALL welcome his excellent stretch of play these past few weeks. The issue is and will continue to be what happens in the offseason and how we put the most competitive team on the ice moving forward for 15-16+ with the 19/88 escalation while also retaining key players that need to be paid or will be lost (such as 20.) For those of us that think trading CC is an option that should be considered (again- an option), the better he plays and farther the Hawks go the better his value. It’s win-win regardless if you move him or keep him.

  11. Am I the only one that would like to see the Blues face the Kings in round 1? So I wouldnt be totally upset if the Hawks got the 2 seed in the central.

  12. Shaw should be suspended what a horrible play, idea and response no room for that
    Hawks played great, finished checks got pucks to the net up close got traffic and played well defensively . Solid for almost 60 minutes! TT is on the wrong line and Bick is picking it up and Sharp makes the top line undefendable. Islanders did not
    Play well off all night but hawks played well. Rangers is the real test tonight
    Look for Vermettttt to score tonight big game coming. And yes Hawks can
    Lose a Kane and win hawks built on team play and team defense. Go hawka

  13. Ernie… It’s looking more like Calgary will be battling Winnipeg for the final wild card slot…

    So, the best in the West will face either of these two, unless Calgary finds a way to get ahead of the Kings who are in 3rd as of today.

    Hawks vs. Nashville in round one, unless the Blues have a repeat of last years terrible end of their season…

  14. Ernie, you are preaching to the choir with your playoff match-up wishes regarding the Hawks, Blues and Kings. Blues vs Kings would likely be a knock down drag out war of attrition leaving the winner of the series kind of beat down and vulnerable in the following round. Kings and of course the Hawks have traditionally been a tough match-up over the years for the Blues too.

    I was reflecting back on playoffs the past 4 years. Years the Hawks own the Cup I had some travel plans in Europe that caused me to miss some games in either the 1st or 2nd round. Had to watch on delay or else very late at night. In these years the Hawks won the Cup. Perhaps I make some plans this year to get me out of the country in early May for the good of the fans and franchise to allow another Cup to come back to Chicago…??

    Rangers will indeed by a good test tonight. If we can get a point or even a win it on a end of a back to back would suggest the Hawks are indeed trending in a very positive direction. CC has been playing so well lately I have to believe Q gives him the nod tonight with Darling going against Dallas Sat. or even next Monday against the Canes as well.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  15. I would like to see the Kings miss the playoffs but relying on Calgary to win some games seems like a bad bet. Though they do have a slightly more favorable schedule compared to the Kings.

    And Bickell is disappointing but Dustin Brown… Woof. You’d think he would have been stripped of a C before Thornton. Mike Richards was about ass productive playing on the 4th line.

    Anyway, yay Crawford again. Hossa and Toews lol. Should be a fun game tonight.

  16. Ernie, The playoffs seedings “today” have the Kings in as 3rd seed in Pacific (not a WC), so daily changes and tight races at bottom of each division keep it interesting. Bottom line, looks likely the Hawks will get the Preds in rnd-1 way things are going, and would be great to see us leap-frog to gain home ice advantage..

  17. Wall: do you think the blackhawks have been playing better with out Kane and with the addition of 3 new players?

  18. I thought Desjardins played OK last night – even got some PK time. So, now that Shaw isn’t suspended and Nordstrom is available after his suspension – who is the odd man out? I think I would go back to 42-16-65 … but then I rarely find myself on the same wavelength as Q.

    Oh, and Timonen is playing better, little by little. I wonder if Q gives him the night off because of the B2B. Maybe Rundblad gets his skates on the ice tonight? Actually, even if Timonen plays tonight, I hope to see Rundblad in the lineup because Rozsival needs a rest, a very L-O-N-G rest. He was terrible last night. If the Islanders had sustained puck possession in the Hawks zone a dozen times last night – Rozsival must have been singularly responsible for 10 of them. Just brital.

  19. Can anyone explain the main difference between a game misconduct and a match penalty? Shaw only a game misconduct yesterday.

  20. if Crawford continues to play like this, is it possible he can steal the cup for our beloved Blackhawks .i know it may be wishful thinking, but it has happened before . if Kane returns and thats a big IF I would not bet against the Hawks

    B

  21. Rule 48 – Head-butting – A double minor penalty shall be assessed to any player who attempts to head-butt an opponent. A major plus a game misconduct (match penalty if injury results) will be assessed to any player who head-butts an opponent. Rule 529 – Head-butting – A match penalty is assessed to any player who deliberately head-butts or attempts to head-butt an opponent.

  22. I thought Versteeg played much better last night on the third line, thats where he belongs at this juncture. Timmonen looked slow, perhaps it was the Isles speed but, I noticed a couple of times that the Hawks quickly transitioned off of a Isles TO and Kimo, struggled mightily to make the quick change in direction, Rosizval is in the same boat. This is when I started wondering why Rundblad is sitting in the press box, I know he still makes mistakes but his upside is greater than his downside, still a young dude who skates and shoots well, can’t teach this, same can be said for instincts, which I admit aren’t his strength, but as 5th or 6th DMan he is just fine. First two lines are really clicking and Crow is playing at an elite level. Things are definitely looking up for this team. Can’t wait for the tilt tonight at MSG – GO HAWKS!!

  23. Timmonen hasn’t played hockey in like a year.

    Probably more of a 4 or 5 week time line of getting his legs under him rather than a 4 to 5 game one. Should be looking sharp for the last few games of the season I would expect.

  24. Had pretty spectacular seats at the game last night (Thanks Phil). They must be on the complete opposite side of the rink as Rufus’ though, because I see a lot of things to like in the TT.

    I caught myself saying, “Nice play… Rozsival?” more than one time. That was weird. Maybe he’s stepping it up with his playing time being threatened.

    I had a great view for the Shaw head-butt (Thanks Phil!). It was vicious and I can’t believe he isn’t being suspended. I immediately called out that Shaw was getting suspended only to have the VERY SMART HOCKEY FANS around my section (sorry Phil) tell me it was a dive.

    Anyway, it’s looking like there is a very real chance that the Hawks can win the top seed in the Central… although part of me prefers them playing the Blues or Preds in the first round and not whichever wildcard team is there.

  25. Can we go back to seeding points 1-8 already…this is all a little dopey

    I dont want LA in at all and it has nothing to do with wanting to dodge them on the ice. I have just grown so tired of the media’s adulation for them. You know, how resilient they are and how ingenious they work through the regular season and then become 22 of the most powerful and heralded athletes ever…..yeah. That shit has gone off the rails from where my seat is

    I want Winnipeg in for 2 reasons. Watching Buff ratchet up his game and wreaking all the havoc that a whole team might be capable of, and the fans/arena there make for a great environment….just like the old one did

    Phil, not sure why you even need to ponder the notion. See your travel secretary asap bro, geesh lol

  26. RD, this is whats really stupid about the realignment. Its wonderful for better travel (during the 82games/that’s all that’s needed) and the home/away game between all teams but other then that its dumb. The league can even still have the same formula for what 8 teams get in with the divisions, then just do the normal 1/8, 4/5, etc. like normal. With the way it is a team that played like shit most of the 82games is going to get the easiest/worst team in Campbell conference in the 1st round not the higher seeds. In addition to being in over WIN if CAL doesn’t stay close and beat them at82games.

    Phil, take one for the team.

  27. RD, I’m in full agreement with you concerning the incessant media wanking of the LA Kings. Oh, they just are so smart, and save it all for the playoffs, where they have some sort of magical edge on the rest of the league, because well, they are that good!! This has been going on for years. I mean they have the worlds best keeper in Quick, their scrappy(read cheap shot artist) Cpt. Brown. Granted, I like some of their guys, but the hype surrounding this team just blows me away. To see them not make the playoffs would make me just about as happy as seeing the Blues embark on their annual Spring chokeathon.

    Glad you like your view of the game last night JS! Happy you could sit in for me. I figured you had a birds eye view of the Shaw head popper. Watching that one again on the replay today had me wondering why interference or crosschecking wasn’t called on Nelson. Not that I am advocating what Shawsy did. Hell, Shaw should have punched the guy and got 2 for roughing. I think the NHL figured Shaw being tossed was punishment enough along with Isles awarded a 5 minute PP which they badly squandered. Justice committee in the NHL is often a coin flip.

    So Darling gets a shot tonight. CC deserved a break, especially on a back to back, but he clearly qualifies as being a hot goalie right now. I think if the Hawks get three or more goals tonight they can grab the two points, but Rangers will be an excellent measuring stick to judge what level Hawks are really at. Hawks have had a pretty good schedule lately that they have taken big advantage of.

    Speaking of travel I am kind of jacked to be going up North for the Jets game at the end of the month. Two of my daughters have not been to Canada, and this one looked juicy on the schedule to give them a look. Air fares though to Winnipeg from Chicago are brutal. Should be fun!

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  28. Negzz- Re: Crow/trade… Couldn’t have said it better!!!

    To all who Still think I am crazy about the Crow/contract thing…
    DARLING shuts out hot/best team in league!!! BUT Crow is un-tradeable!!!!

    More examples:
    The King goes down… Yet this Talbot kid IS the Hottest Goalie in league (better than Crow Statistically)… is it the Goalie or The team in front of goalie??????
    Kane Goes down- Which affords SB the chance to “Buy” some insurance players…
    The Hawks are now winning (Bri)… and not letting up goals (even this kid nobody knew last year- just shut out the “best/hottest” team in league)… is it Crow? or the Team in front of goalie???
    Just think How much better the Team in front of net would be now- if The hawks had $5M more skating in front of Darling (like Kesler or Yandle)???

  29. NYR are not the best team in league (maybe top/top3 Defense 1-6). Maybe in East conference they are. Although they do play in weakest division on hockey, when looking at reg82games records you have to factor the sch.

    They might be a top5 team though. They did play us good to a 0-0 tie and got shutout 1-0 tonight. (4on4 and shootouts don’t count in playoffs) As good as they are defensively (top3 and so are we) the have been shutout in all 6 periods against us (we only scored 1 goal in the 6 periods). Just two of the top3 defenses in league but there not as good or deep as we are at FW.

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