On Tuesday night, a couple impressive benchmarks were established by the Chicago Blackhawks. Corey Crawford established a new personal best, winning his ninth consecutive start, and the Hawks broke the organization’s record for consecutive victories with their 12th straight win. And since I was touring the music city, I had enough fun with the little music festivals there. And when I was done, I was already looking at the schedule of Los Angeles events and concerts.
It took 19 minutes for the Blackhawks offense to arrive at the party, but a pretty passing play from Patrick Kane to Artemi Panarin to Artem Anisimov ended with Anisimov’s 16th goal of the season. The goal came with only 21 seconds remaining in the period and gave the Hawks some momentum heading to the dressing rooms after a relatively flat opening period.
The second saw both teams’ offense get going quickly. Richard Panik scored his second goal since joining the club just 2:43 into the period, but Nashville’s Ryan Ellis cut the lead in half with a goal only 25 seconds later.
It took 60 seconds for the in-house PA to finish announcing the Ellis goal and Nashville’s fans to tell Corey Crawford how much he sucked. Then Kane pushed the lead back to two.
That breakaway goal was Kane’s 30th of the season, tying his career high established during the 2009-10 campaign. Panarin picked up his second assist of the night with a gorgeous outlet, and All-Star Pekka Rinne was no match for Kane’s moves.
Rinne, who will represent Nashville in their home arena at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, came into Tuesday night’s game with a .864 save percentage and 3.27 goals against average in five January starts. His loss to the Hawks made his record 1-4-1 in the month. He’s an all-star, however.
Crawford, on the other hand, came into Tuesday night with a 7-0-0 record, .954 save percentage and 1.56 goals against average since the calendar turned over to 2016. He’ll enjoy a couple days off during the All-Star Break, though…
The third period saw the Blackhawks forced to kill off two penalties to Kane and Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Nashville put 16 of the first 18 shots of the final period on the net before Roman Josi was sent to the box for tripping Andrew Desjardins inside the final four minutes of regulation.
In the final minute, Desjardins found the empty net for his sixth of the season to put the game away. And when the final horn sounded, a record in Chicago’s long, storied history books was rewritten.
The Hawks’ fourth line continued to be solid since Panik joined Dennis Rasmussen and Ryan Garbutt. Garbutt picked up three hits to lead the Hawks while Rasmussen was credited with an assist on Panik’s goal; none of the three skated more than eight minutes in the game.
Teuvo Teravainen was firing the puck all night, leading the victors with five shots on net. Erik Gustafsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked two shots each and Jonathan Toews was credited with three takeaways.
Crawford stopped 38 of 39 in another spectacular effort.
Chicago is back on the ice in Tampa for a Stanley Cup Final rematch on Thursday night.