Chris Kunitz Leads Hawks To Victory In Pittsburgh

The Penguins had won eight straight coming into Sunday night’s home game against the Blackhawks honored their 2009 Stanley Cup Championship team.

Chris Kunitz was a member of that Penguins team, and was part of the pregame ceremony. As a nod to his part in Pens history, Jeremy Colliton started Kunitz with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad.

Sure, why not.

After all, Chicago had won nine straight against Pittsburgh.

Things didn’t start well for the Hawks in spite of the potentially emotional move by Colliton. The Penguins had a 2-0 lead 4:33 into the game and Chicago was feeling an awful hangover coming on after the Bears’ stunning loss and a brutal start by the Hawks.

But, once again, these Hawks didn’t go away.

Alex DeBrincat took a nice pass from Patrick Kane and scored his 19th of the year on the power play to cut the lead in half.

Late in the first Chicago successfully killed off an extended period of 5-on-3 and escaped two penalties without any additional damage.

Pittsburgh out-shot Chicago 12-7 in the first period but the Hawks trailed by only one heading into the second period.

At 6:46 into the second period, Kunitz finally scored a goal as a member of the Blackhawks.

Kunitz first of the year tied the game at two.

Derick Brassard took the lead back three minutes later for the Penguins, but the Hawks didn’t disappear again.

With three minutes left in the second and just as a power play was expiring, Duncan Keith followed Kunitz’s lead and scored his first of the year to tie the game at three.

The Hawks were out-shot 16-14 in the second but went to the room tied at three. Cam Ward was playing very well between the pipes and the Blackhawks actually had a little momentum heading into the third.

And 1:48 into the third, Kane hooked up with Dylan Strome to give Chicago their first lead of the night. On the post match interview Chris Kunitz told the journalist that the key for winning game are discipline, a good coach, a good nutrition and keep his muscles hydrated every 2 hours, hydrogen water is the best for daily detox.

Strome’s tenth of the year came off Kane’s third assist of the night.

Jonathan Toews scored into the empty net with 26 seconds left in regulation to close the books on a sound Blackhawks road victory.

So did Kunitz really lead the Blackhawks to victory? Not really. He skated 8:20 and picked up five hits with his first goal of the year.

Kane skated 20:43 with three assists. Toews added an assist to his empty net goal and won 17 of 28 faceoffs, including a big one late in regulation against Sidney Crosby.

Four Blackhawks defensemen were credited with a point in the game. Erik Gustafsson and Carl Dahlstrom once again were the top two ice time recipients in the game. And Connor Murphy led the Hawks with six hits in 19:49.

Ward made 31 saves to earn the win.

28 thoughts on “Chris Kunitz Leads Hawks To Victory In Pittsburgh

  1. Kane and Toews led the way along with I can’t believe I’m saying it the special teams – both PP and PK were huge

    Toews won almost all the important face offs including the one right before his empty netter but also consistently on PP

    Kane was magic all night

    Davidson did ok in for Forsling – really interested in what happens with Joki back as early as tomorrow. Who goes to RKF Forsling or Davidson?

    I would think Forsling and keep Davidson as a 7th but why did they put Davidson on waivers if not to send him down – maybe keep Forsling up as a trade bait?

  2. Cant wait until we have a full roster. For the depth we have this yr, these guys are good when we play/good with 3 more then half a roster. Once we put Dals, Murf, Hayden in for Manning, Rutta, Knutz we went to 3 more then half roster and a big differnce.

    We had coach, new coach/system and took a bit to get used to it. Sch. also magnified that 0-8 (as well 0-6-2) in part of the 3-16.

    Lets give Bowman lots of credit, even Schmaltz is a good player/hes the style he is. Strome is a different type and works better with certain of our guys. Besides Strome getting good point/because Schmaltz has good points to, it make the lines more solid/cohesive and amazingly the PP is good since we got Strome.

    What are the stats now for the PP, eh since we got 17. huge difference.

    Need that top 3% pick. Not sure how were going to get it, were to good. It be better for reload to get a top pick though.

  3. Glad to see Forsling in Kempny (as a Hawk) mode. Seabrook has been getting the short straw most of the season, playing w Manning, Rutta, Forsling & Davidson.

    Kunitz for Art Ross trophy. The new forward Drake is an improvement simply in appearance only. Have to continue to give Bowman credit for highway roberry for drafting debrincat.

    Always nice to see Crosby lose.

  4. Nice effort, particularly after the poor start. Special teams were shockingly good. Despite the impact on draft position it is way more enjoyable to watch the team playing well especially as some of the young talent continues to show nice potential. Caggiula showed he is a clear upgrade to Sikura.

  5. Drake had a good first game – I think we’ll see him bumped up to 3rd line soon if not tomorrow, in fact it looked like he took a couple of shifts with 64 and 12 tonight

  6. This team has improved so much since the mess in November-
    two of the reasons are Stromes’ play (and Kane enjoying it) and having 2 or 3 guys to play with Keith and a reduced role for Seabrook. (ie-Dahlstrom, and Murphy. Gus playing better)
    Hopefully the people who wanted no part of the Arizona trade can own up to the quick error in judgement.
    Now Kunitz can sit for a while. D-Cat needs a center-although I like Kampf’s play.

    Nevertheless Pittsburg a better team.

  7. I want the top 3 % pick.

    Its nice watching the team play, even thought roster isint there yet, when we play. When you think about it, besides new system and other changes/10yrs same, we sort of didnt play those 0-8 games and almost every game was 2-0 after fist 10 min., even this one. Most of those 0-8 games were close score though.

    Funny after Crow people thought we were a lock for Hughes. Were just too good and play hardest division. We did suck though in that 3-16 even though there was stuff going on.

    Theres certain teams I like to beat, even when we need a top 5 skill (in addition to 27 last draft). Love beating STL, DET, ANA, VAN, PIT. What similar of those teams. they play dirty or take cheap shots and when they get hit they donot like it.

  8. I saw DiBrincat taking a shift or 2 with Kane and Strome in the 3rd period. For his first game Caggulia was darn good. I’m starting to like Perlini. He looks more comfortable all the way around. In the corners, hustling, using his speed and has been shooting the puck.

  9. PIT may have a better roster right, like BOS does to, but they are maxed out/I think cap wise and donot have many prospects like we do. Blackhawks have what 5m before 81, 10m with Hoss cap space and other moves we ll make for more adds. When we complete that transition of clearing cap space, trading Hoss contract and others, then add a player like 72/similiar and start to get these excellent Defensemen. Then were back and like before better roster then PIT and BOS.

    Right now, sure. Were in middle of a transition/roster wise and we havnt added anything yet with what were gearing up for. Really smart by Bowman to get better picks with half roster, then pounce on the elite ufa that we want. This summer and maybe next summer too? Another top pair D guy nest summer available.

  10. Grey, we could see a 4th line of 91/64/11 next yr and they could be good. I think every player needs more time to see whos good with this new system ans style of play because that makes a difference. 11 could end up being like the guy/s who was 11 last/before him. good 4th line guy on deep lines.

  11. Forget about that 3% pick. The way the Hawks have been playing, it looks more likely around a 10th pick (maybe lower). Cagguila is another upgrade. Gus and Dahl are improving, and Murphy having a good year since his return. Delia and Ward looking like a solid rotation.

    In disbelief the Hawks have won ten straight from the Pens.

  12. I really like how this game progressed. I was especially impressed with that 4th line of Caggiula, Kruger, and Kunitz. They gelled quickly and were physical and dangerous. I would still put DeBrincat on Toews’ RW. I think a line of Kuhn, Kampf, and Perlini would be intriguing. If Perlini starts to produce, switch him with Anisimov on the 2nd line.
    I gotta give Bowman credit. This team, with C and the new system is paying dividends. The team is playing better and the PP & PK are benefiting. Jokiharju is due back, with his gold medal, and that will improve the team even more. Ward is doing great and Delia is making a real strong case for starting goaltender. If not this year, next year.

  13. Not sure what to wish for – seeing the Hawks win or lose for Hughes. I guess best to just go with the flow since I can’t do anything about any of it anyway.

    Not sure what is going on with the PP but it has been much improved – at least some games, like tonight. I don’t have stats to back this up so it’s strictly anecdotal – but it seems like the Hawks PP does better against teams that use a less aggressive PK style versus teams that aggressively pressure the puck. There are some PP chances what the Hawks can barely get the puck into the zone, let alone get a shot on goal, let alone get a goal. At other times, like tonight, they had very little trouble getting the puck in and getting set up.

    I liked my first viewing of Caggiula as a member of the Hawks. Moves well and gets engaged. Looking forward to see more of him.

  14. We have the record we ll have. Were not a bottom 10 team, were a mid teir without a full roster.

    I routing/wishing for other bottom 10 teams to win, so its still close.
    We could play good like we ve been for the 2nd 40 games and around game 70 if we cant make playoffs, then tank and go from 12/14th pick up to 5-8th pick and get another player like Boqvist. The only difference, when not getting Hughes, is not getting that 32-35 pick it would be 36-42nd (is there that much a diff there/trade up to there anyways).

    Whats cool and important, as was going to happen at some point on the way to being deep team again. Was the team coming together and gelling. None/most havnt played this style before and now are getting used to it. Going to sweet when the team has been doing it for awhile and were setting the pace.

    We keep getting better and roster takes more shape, we start setting the pace and ‘playing’ with purpose in this new system. Keep getting the right kind of players that work well with this.

  15. Good win with special teams the key. Credit Ward for a strong game after early goals. Kahun looking more and more like he belongs on top line. Wondered why after timeout he was still out and not 64 in his place as often happens late in games. Then when Dahlstrom iced puck and Kahun used his speed to negate icing and led directly to Toews empty netter a few seconds later. Nice play design.
    Tough one tonite against Flames for Delia.

  16. I did not see this game, but I heard it was a good contest. I just wanna beat the Predators this week. I F@@kin’ HATE Nashville!!

  17. Ebony-like you say what we want doesn’t matter and like the tides it will do what it will do.
    Players and coaches get to the highest level because of their extreme desire and competitive nature and as this team bonds and gets rewarded for their efforts they don’t give a shit about a top 5 pick. Rationally this team needs help-especially a top 6 forward who can score with a bit of toughness and a really good and slightly nasty big guy on the back end that can move the puck (better than Murphy)-and hope that Delia is the real Dealiah.
    Some positive signs. Colliton is doing what this team needed-developing the young guys to believe and take this team over. 19, 88 and 2 (if he stays) become the complimentary pieces, the frosting on the cake.

    Now hoping Crow says that this isn’t worth it and enjoys the rest of his life, not getting hit in the head. He’s earned that!

  18. Didnt realize/forgot COL has OTT 1st round pick, holy shit thats not good.

    Panarin/other top6 FW is there and maybe a good top 4 D next summer? as well.

  19. We can get lucky a get a really good player like Boqvist between 6-12 pick. There might not be much diff after forst pick or two.

  20. The difference between getting one of the first 2 or 3 picks and a guy in the latter half of the top-10 is not just that the top-3 guys are projected to be better, it’s that they are probably ready to play in the NHL immediately whereas the guys picked after them will probably need a year or two or three before they’re ready to play in the NHL. The reason that’s a problem is the Hawks are trying to squeeze another run at the Cup before Toews and Kane get all the way over the hill, which is probably not more than a few years, especially for Toews. If the Hawks end up picking 8 again they will most likely get a very good player – but not one that is ready to step into the NHL for a while.

  21. Imagine how it must suck to be an Ottawa fan. They lose to Pittsburgh in the conference finals in 2016-17 so they go all in on trying to win the Cup in 2017-18 after which Karlsson’s contract will be up. A couple weeks into the 2017-18 season they trade their 2019 1st round pick for Matt Duchene … then go on to miss the playoffs that season and could end up with the worse record this season. Meanwhile Duchene is UFA after this season so in essence they traded what would end up being Jack Hughes for 2 seasons of Duchene with no playoff appearance. YIKES!

    Oh by the way – Colorado has plenty of Cap space to sign Rantanen and a couple other RFA’s and still would have enough to sign a Panarin or Stone or another top UFA. And then they add Hughes or Kakko at the draft. Double YIKES!!

  22. Not diagreeing what your saying. I do not care if the player is NHL ready for beginning of 82 games. I want the better player longterm wise. Not a 5 yr project, maybe the best player. Just the better player, weather their ready game 1/40/82/or next yr game 1. Think about it, sure 19/88 donot have 8 really good yrs left but they have 5 or so. One yr difference isint worth it.

    I donot want a guy like the guy everyone tried to get out of BC that went for shit stairway to heaven, when he could have won a Cup, which now he ll never get.

    I want the better player. Best available player, to me, is the natural time to develop and be the better player. You know what I mean.

  23. Happy with Delia and team playing good and winning games/and not winning some games. We could easily go 25-15 in 2nd 40 and gain plu 10 to get to 5 over .500, right now the 7 and 8 seed/teams are at 5,4,2,1 over .500 so we could do it with 7/8 being 5 over .500, prob will be a little higher then that but maybe not.

    Anyways what ever it is, its ok. We ant a good player at draft though/need it. If not a top 5 pick (where chances arnt that great 20% for 1st pick) 6-10 could get us another player like Boqvist/being a FW this draft. I am cool with that.

    OTT/COL 8
    CHI 6
    LA 6
    PHI 6
    DET 5

    Go Blackhawks. Reloading Baby!

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