On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks trounced the Red Wings in Detroit. After a late arrival in Boston, the following night saw the Hawks as the team handling hand grenades as the Bruins took advantage of Chicago mistakes to earn an easy home victory.
Patrice Bergeron got the party started for Boston only 78 seconds into the game, showing the exceptional effort that makes him an annual Selke winner. The Bruins’ star center was tripped up, but got back to his feet and was able to beat Scott Darling to give Boston an early lead.
Chicago struggled to even get a shot on net in the first period, but a power play opened the door for the potent Blackhawks unit to get the game square. Newcomer Christian Ehrhoff put a blast on net that was batted around and finally ended up with Jonathan Toews scoring his 23rd of the season. Andrew Ladd picked up the primary assist on the play, giving him a point in all three games since being traded back to Chicago.
Unfortunately, Brad Marchand – the hottest scorer in the NHL – put home his 33rd of the season with 22 seconds left in the first period to give Boston a 2-1 lead. The Bruins out-shot the Hawks 12-5 in the opening 20 minutes, were faster up and down the ice and were clearly the more physical team.
The script was nearly identical in the second period. Ryan Spooner scored a power play goal – his 12th of the year – at 2:31 into the frame to extend Boston’s lead to 3-1.
Noel Acciari did more to generate offense for the Blackhawks than perhaps any player in white on Thursday evening. The Bruins center was in the penalty box when Toews scored, and went back to the sin bin in the second. But the end of an uneventful power play saw David Krejci lead a Boston rush up the ice that ended with John-Michael Liles setting up Loui Eriksson for his 24th of the year. The lead had ballooned to 4-1 and the Hawks continued to lack the jump they displayed 24 hours prior against the Red Wings.
But as the Bruins scored in the final minute of the first, the Hawks added a goal inside of 60 seconds remaining in the second. Tomas Fleischmann scored his first goal with the Hawks to cut the lead to 4-2, but that would be the end of the offense from either team on the night.
Dale Weise made his Chicago debut, skating 12:51 with two hits and one shot on net. He was the only deadline acquisition not to make an impact on the scoreboard, with Ladd and Ehrhoff picking up assist and Fleischmann scoring.
Trevor van Riemsdyk led the Blackhawks with six blocked shots in 20:35 on the ice, skating primarily with Ehrhoff. The veteran defender skated 21:19, a significant increase from his previous appearance since being acquired. Ehrhoff was credited with three shots on net, one hit and one blocked shot.
If there was one area where the Blackhawks performed well as a unit on Thursday night it was at the dot – and it wasn’t only Toews. Chicago’s captain led the way, winning 17 of 27 on the night. But Teuvo Teravainen won eight of 16 and Dennis Rasmussen won six of nine in the loss. Artem Anisimov wasn’t as successful (he won only one of six), but he paced the Hawks with four hits.
Darling had a rough night, but starting a game has been rare for the Hawks’ backup. He allowed four goals against 25 shots and would probably like at least two of them back. After the game, coach Joel Quenneville said “[Darling] wasn’t very good tonight.”
Tuukka Rask stopped 25 of 27 on the other end of the ice to earn the win, and Boston got three assists from their deadline acquisitions (two from Lee Stempniak and one from Liles).
The Hawks are back at the United Center for a matinee against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.