After a dominant first 20 minutes, the Blackhawks needed a stellar effort from Corey Crawford to escape Carolina with two big points on Monday night.
The Hawks scored two goals in an 80-second window in the middle stages of the first period. Marcus Kruger set up Andrew Shaw on the doorstep and he deposited a one-timer past Anton Khudobin for Chicago’s first tally. Only 79 seconds later, Patrick Sharp scored a rare even strength goal to extend the lead to two.
After Sharp’s goal, the Blackhawks offense disappeared.
And Carolina did everything they could to beat the visitors.
Over the game’s final 40 minutes, the Canes put 34 shots on net, but only beat Crawford once. Crawford finished the night with 44 saves to earn a victory for his team. The win marked the fourth time in his career that Crawford has won 30 games for the Blackhawks, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famer Glenn Hall for second in franchise history; only Tony Esposito (eight) won 30 games in more seasons wearing the Indian head than Crawford and Hall.
Shaw added a second goal into an empty net with 40 seconds left in regulation to finish the night. On Shaw’s second goal, Jonathan Toews picked up an assist for the 500th point of his NHL career.
Toews’ benchmark points came in an appropriate way for the one-time Selke Trophy winner (for now); his third blocked shot of the night led to the Shaw breakaway to close out the game. Chicago’s captain was also credited with two hits and won nine of 20 faceoffs in the game.
The night began with Toews on a new-look top line, however. Coach Joel Quenneville, who won his 750th victory as an NHL head coach on Monday night, turned on the line blender and put Toews between Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen. Sharp skated on the second line with Antoine Vermette and Marian Hossa.
Bryan Bickell once again received the lowest ice time for any Chicago skater, getting only 13 shifts and 9:17 in the game. Bickell was credited with five hits in the game, but failed to put anything in the box score in his final six shifts. He was also credited with two giveaways and only one missed shot; Bickell failed to get a shot on net.
Chicago’s “fourth” line of Shaw, Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom skated as many shifts (24) as the top line did together; Sharp (24), Toews (25) and Hossa (28) all skated less than 18 minutes in a balanced night for the Hawks forwards. The two goals for Shaw give him 12 on the season.