The Blackhawks traveled to Montreal for an Original Six match against the Habs on Saturday night, and both goaltenders were sensational. Unfortunately, a terrible sequence in overtime cost Corey Crawford and the Hawks the second point.
Crawford made 32 saves on 33 shots in regulation, and made a few more big saves to open the overtime period. But Patrick Kane decided to carry the puck back into the defensive zone at the end of a long shift, leading a series of turnovers and Andrei Markov buried the game-winner. Chicago’s netminder made 36 saves in the game.
Markov scored the Habs’ first goal of the game at 12:54 in the second period after another series of bad hockey from the Hawks. Montreal would hold the lead for almost 10 minutes into the third period, but an exceptional pass from Jonathan Toews set up Marian Hossa on the doorstep and the Hawks were able to beat Carey Price.
Hossa was magnificent the entire night, not only scoring the tying goal but also making a number of key defensive plays.
Coach Joel Quenneville’s lines were in the blender throughout the game again as he tries to find a formula to get the high-scoring Hawks out of a slump. Bryan Bickell started the game on the second line with Kane and Marcus Kruger, but was limited to 11:56 in the game.
Kruger skated 17:45, but won only three of 10 faceoffs. He was credited with two more blocked shots and spent 3:17 short-handed as the Blackhawks were forced to kill three penalties in the first two periods. Chicago was successful on all three penalty kills, including 3:58 late in the first period as Mike Kostka and Niklas Hjalmarsson were sent to the box less than two minutes apart.
Brandon Bollig skated a team-low 11 shifts for 8:08, and didn’t impress when he was on the ice. A terrible icing play led his “highlights” for the evening. Bickell also had a bad icing play that led to the Habs’ first goal of the night.
Michal Handzus started on the third line and stayed in the bottom six throughout the night. He won only three of eight faceoffs in 12:27, and was called for interference on what would have been the Hawks’ first goal of the night.
Kane skated 18:57 in the game and was credited with only two shots on net. He was on the ice for both of Montreal’s goals. Meanwhile, Chicago’s defensemen were credited with 10 giveaways in the game, led by three each from Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook.
For Montreal, Price faced only 20 shots in regulation and wasn’t required to make a single save in the overtime as the Canadiens took the victory. Tomas Plekanec was credited with 11 shots on net and won 10 of 18 faceoffs. Alexei Emelin was credited with six hits, including big hits on both Kane and Ben Smith. George Parros skated only 3:33 and seven shifts in the game.
The Hawks return home to face the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night. Chicago has lost five of their last seven, with four of those losses coming in overtime or a shootout.