In the second half of a back-to-back that included travel from Columbus to Chicago on Saturday night, the Blackhawks emerged victorious for a team-record sixth straight game to begin the season. This time, the hated Detroit Red Wings were the victim.
Corey Crawford continued his stellar play, stopping 29 of 30 shots to earn the game’s number one star honor. A second period that saw the Blackhawks short-handed four times – including a 5-on-3 – came up with the Red Wings still showing a doughnut on the scoreboard, a huge credit to Crawford and the penalty killers in front of him.
Marcus Kruger was the game’s third star after a stellar defensive performance. He won eight of 14 faceoffs and skated 5:30 short-handed on Sunday evening.
Duncan Keith opened the scoring for the Blackhawks with a powerplay goal in the first period. Chicago dominated the first period; there were conversations in the 300 level at the United Center about how this Blackhawks-Red Wings game looked like a match-up of the two teams from 10 years ago, but with the dominant team wearing the opposite sweater.
The second and third periods, though, saw the Hawks looking like a team playing skating on a second consecutive night. Detroit started to control the puck, and the momentum, but couldn’t break through on the scoreboard. It wasn’t until the third period, when Johan Franzen found the back of the net, that the Red Wings got on the board.
Nick Leddy, who had a personal four-game point streak snapped in Columbus, got back on the board with a game-winning blast in overtime.
The Hawks combined to block 20 shots on Sunday night, including four each from Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya. Hjalmarsson was credited with three takeaways as well.
Jonathan Toews led the Hawks with four takeaways while winning 10 of 21 faceoffs in the game. He was credited with an assist on Leddy’s game-winner. Viktor Stalberg, Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa were also credited with assists in the game.
On special teams, the Blackhawks killed all six of the Red Wings power plays and scored once in three advantages of their own. Continued strong play from the Hawks’ special teams has been a leading factor in the team’s hot start, especially the exceptional penalty kill unit.
The Blackhawks play at the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.