Crawford, Blackhawks Escape Panthers For Third Straight Win

On Monday night while the Blackhawks took a night off during an early December stretch at home, the Florida Panthers were in Detroit. James Reimer stopped 34 of 35 to steal two points in an overtime win over the Red Wings.

So of course Reimer would be back in the net on Tuesday night in Chicago, holding the Blackhawks in check.

Coach Joel Quenneville made one change to his lineup after Sunday’s win, inserting Ryan Hartman in place of struggling Richard Panik. Jordan Oesterle stayed in the lineup in place of injured Cody Franson as well.

Brandon Saad got the party started at 16:49 into the first.

The Blackhawks and Panthers each got one power play in the first period, neither of which factored into the scoring. And at the end of 20 minutes the Hawks had a 1-0 lead and the teams each had nine shots on net.

Nick Bjugstad tied the game at 11:12 into the second, but the middle period included far worse news than a Florida goal.

Connor Brickley finished a high check on Jan Rutta, catching the Chicago defenseman in the head with his shoulder. Rutta’s head bounced off the boards and he slowly left the ice, heading straight to the room. Rutta did not return to the game, leaving Chicago with five defensemen for the second half of the contest.

Again in the second period, both sides had a power play that was wasted. The Panthers poured it on in the second, out-shooting the Hawks 17-5 but Corey Crawford kept his team in the game through the blitz.

Jamie McGinn gave Florida a 2-1 lead at 3:53 into the third period. The Blackhawks got a third power play three and a half minutes after the McGinn goal but threw away two more worthless minutes.

Almost exactly ten minutes after the McGinn goal, Saad led a break and flipped a beautiful pass to a streaking Jonathan Toews who tied the game at two.

Toews’ ninth of the season came with a second assist on the night to Alex DeBrincat as the rookie continues to impress. After posting 14 points in 13 games in November, DeBrincat now has four points in his last four games and appears to be developing chemistry with Toews and Saad on the Hawks’ top line.

With three minutes left in regulation, Tommy Wingels attacked the net and Reimer made a save in traffic. Reimer then threw a few punches at the back of Wingels’ head while two of his teammates took shots at the other side of Wingels’ head. Meanwhile, John Hayden had a bloody mouth from a high stick. The result: 5 on 5 hockey. Which might have been a good thing considering how bad the Hawks’ power play had been.

Reimer and Jared McCann both got penalties for roughing Wingels on the play. Wingels picked up two minor penalties by himself, thus the 5-on-5.

Crawford stopped 32 of 34 in regulation; Reimer made 24 saves in regulation to go with his two penalty minutes.

Connor Murphy (18:52) was the only healthy Hawks defenseman who was under 20 minutes of ice time when regulation ended thanks to the Rutta injury.

90 seconds into the overtime at the end of a long shift by Toews, Saad and Oesterle, the Panthers had a few gorgeous looks at the net while Crawford was doing snow angels in the blue paint – but Florida couldn’t finish.

And one minute later, Artem Anisimov fed Patrick Kane for a breakaway and that’s all she wrote.

Game. Blackhawks.

And for the first time this season the Hawks have won three in a row.

Toews finished the night with two points, four shots on net and two hits while winning 12 of 23 faceoffs. Chicago’s captain also blocked one shot in 22:30 on the ice.

Saad had two points and three shots on net in 17:48. DeBrincat had two assists, one blocked shot and one hit in 17:55.

Hayden skated only 7:27 but led Chicago with six hits. Five Blackhawks blocked two shots each, including Vinnie Hinostroza.

After winning three games against teams they should beat at home, the Hawks will travel to Winnipeg for a big divisional game on Thursday night against the Jets.

24 thoughts on “Crawford, Blackhawks Escape Panthers For Third Straight Win

  1. The good news:
    1. They got 2 points.
    2. 20-19-12 might be developing into a #1 line, and wouldn’t that be nice.
    3. Crawford is good.

    The not so good news:
    1. The PP is not only bad, it’s a freakin clown show that gives the other team momentum.
    2. Keith is still on the PP taking those weak ass shots that make the PP even worse.
    3. Speaking of weak ass – how about all those one hand on stick clearing attempts.
    4. Running about the d-zone chasing the puck because no one will lay the body.
    5. Barely beat two bottom feeders and a 3rd non-playoff team, at home.
    6. Rutta concussion – let’s hope he’s back soon and it’s not a lingering thing.

    6 points is great but for the most part they still played with great suckage.

  2. Lucky to get this win IMO-
    Terrible 2nd period for the Hawks-painful actually. Poor Crow!
    First line looked good-Saad better. Debrincat thinks the game at a high level. D-Men struggled, including Oesterle and at times Keith.
    Don’t know how to describe Hartman, seems off-balance, and rarely comfortable with the puck.
    Can’t wait until someone from the AHL replaces Sharpie.

    Not a playoff team the way they show right now, but 6 points is helpful.

  3. For several yrs we play to opponents competition level at times.

    We outplayed 5 top teams 1 even recently
    TB even except refs gave them made up call

    Were going to playing lots of teams that are not top 10 teams in these 29 games were in now. Should we feel bad when we win any of them.

  4. We may have been lucky to win which ever of these games and so was NAS DAL DAL LA everyone of those games should have been a tie worst case. We could have as easily won those 4.

    It doesnt ever even out it does get closer to 60-40 though over enough sample size.

    I can see STL WIN NAS VEG slowing done record wise in next 25 games and teams like EDM MIN and CHI coming on.

  5. Lackluster effort. Another goalie win in a game the opposition would win 6 of 10 times. 2 points and all but I’m much more interested in seeing the team play good hockey.

    Thank God for Forsling (despite a brutal turnover) and Rutta or this team would be in a ton of trouble. If Murphy can continue improving we might be able to relegate Seabrook to the third pairing. That’s a decent enough back end.

    The forwards though… man they’re just not clicking. Frustrating to watch at times. At what point do you get even more aggressive with the D to take the production pressure off of them?

  6. In this league, and especially in the West where it will be a dog fight between 6 teams for 2 wild cards, you MUST, MUST win you home games. 3 relatively ugly wins.

    Looking at the schedule, 4 games before Christmas break. I think realistically, a win Sunday at home versus Minnesota would be very positive. I’m not optimistic about Thursday’s road matchup with Winnipeg. One point would be nice.

  7. I’d rather see Hartman than Panik, right now. I’d rather see Oesterle than Franson and the next time we try to drop the puck for our late entry into the zone I am going to change the channel.

    I still like the #4 line. I love their net front presence and grit. Let’s see if the young kids can handle Winnepeg.

  8. I echo what everyone else has said here. You can’t lose games to the weaker Clubs, especially at home. It’s going to take a much better effort against Winnipeg. Do they have that in them?

  9. Beating the teams you need to beat is never a bad thing. Yes 3 ugly wins, true enough. The Hawks seem to play better against better teams……..but will have to be much much better against the Jets.

    One thing that encourages me is if the team can fix the PP then these games are not so close. I am curious as to why the lines change so much on the PP. Your in the game, trying to click with your linemates. Then a PP comes along and you are playing with others.

  10. Golden the guys have it them. Already proved that by playing good and outplaying NYR PIT TB even make believe call FLR ANA and NAS didnt get win or tie. Question to me is are we still feeling the aftershocks of a 5 in 7 days sch. to have the proper normal amount of energy. Once we get back to full tank of gas we can play good like that. During these 29 games we can get into a normal grove because most of the games are spread out properly and then in MAR even though a bunch of games there spread good to.

    Love that Debrinkat plays passes and stuff. Cant wait until out younger guys are in their 2 and 3 yrs when their all around games are better. Were going to be deep again.

  11. This whole we play to the competition level needs to stop-yes that was the case when this team was one of , or the best team in the league–that was then…

    With parity and the Hawks just being a good team hoping to make the playoffs it is now every game you work hard against a worthy opponent and get what you can-PLEASE

    All you have to do is say that and voila-an excuse for poor play.
    Let’s look at it a different way–IF the Hawks make the playoffs let’s hope they play up to the level of the competition and get to the 2nd round.

  12. It was nice to finally see Saad and Toews find the net. It was still ugly, but hopefully this is what developing chemistry looks like. DeBrincat, Toews and Saad look to be getting comfortable with each other and while still a little sloppy at times, they are getting some good looks and possessions. I am still not happy with the overall lack of offensive production from a squad that should be a lot better, but if the top line keeps pushing like this and getting chances, the goals will start to fall in with more regularity.

    I am still confused with how discombobulated this squad can look on offense, the power play specifically. I thought the PP looked better at times, but it feels like their passing is too deliberate. The rare times that they were able to get the puck to an open man, either the goalie made a nice stop, or the pass/deflection was just off. There was a flash of a real power play, but it evaporated quickly.

    Crow is a stud and is earning every cent of his salary.

    The previous game saw the Kane line get some goals, this past game saw the Toews line get some goals. Is it too much to hope that they can both do it at the same time and still get the occasional contribution from the bottom 6?

  13. I didn’t think the game was all that bad. The 20-19-12 line dominated Barkovs line and the panthers had no answer and they admitted to watching game tape and still couldn’t stop them. I agree the PP is still terrible and that third line was the disaster last night and that’s when Glorida got momentum was against that line ( Tropchek in particular )
    Keith didn’t have a great night and his point shot is terrible and someone else should be shooting from there. Thought Murphy played well and levelled many Panther players.
    The Kane line is trying to be too pretty. There were many times that either Kane or Schmaltz just skating around and around and the panther players couldn’t touch them or take it away but they did nothing with it.
    Unfortunately my trip to Chicago got delayed a day so I got there Saturday so a day late to see Sabres and a day early to see the Coyotes but did get to the United Centre to see the Bulls beat the Knicks. Great city and I was excited to finally see it for the first time

  14. 2 pts is a plus; Results Orientated Business and the results were there, so that’s good! That being said Florida is not a good Hockey Team and coming off a game the night before and playing their backup. Again style pts don’t matter but this games shouldn’t have been this close. It’s sad how even when Toews is contributing his game still looks like shit. For example, there was a play in OT where Toews peels off and attempts to center to Saad even though there are 2 guys in the passing lines. Just a poor decision from the Captain.

    @ EBONYRAPTOR Good call on Keith’s shots being blocked. He has never had a plus shot but it certainly seems like he is missing some velocity on his shot because teams are blocking it left and right lately. Keith’s QB play on the PP has been noticeably bad. I wonder if there has been any thought on moving Kane to the point on the PP and having him run it from the blueline. It can’t get any worse.

    Hawks head to the Winnipeg next, a team balanced playing really well. I think the Jets run the Hawks out of the building and win by at least 3 Goals

  15. Yet again the first two periods were kind of a snoozefest from a fans standpoint at the UC. Not much to cheer about except for great goaltender work by Corey. Offensively, not much concerted pressure in the FL zone until the 3rd.

    Somehow this Hawks team has not been been coming out with a sense of purpose to start games by really taking it to the visitors. That sense of desperation has revealed itself though in the 3rd periods of the past 3 games. Crow kept them in all three games and some big goals were finally scored. Can’t argue about grabbing those big 6 points even though strong 60 minute efforts were lacking. Remember last year , all of those games that were decided by 1 goal where they would pull out a win in games they easily could have lost? That was the program the past 3 games. It’s all about winning.

    Seeing the Cpt bury that shot last night was encouraging. Yes, this Toews line appears to be jelling. We know Saad has more production in him and the goal last night will probably help his confidence. Dcat keeps looking more comfortable with his development and he isn’t trying to do too much. They guy has a nose for the net and goes to the right places to score instinctively.

    Well described by Tab above, but how Wingels gets mugged by 3 guys and refs call offsetting penalties was pretty bizarre. Not that the Hawks PP looked even close to menacing last night, but the Hawks should have clearly emerged from that melee with a man advantage. Panthers took some cheap shots at Hayden during that play as well.

    Rutta looked concussed on the play that knocked him out the game. Looked like he got hit from behind high and his head slammed into the glass. If he is out does Q play Kempny and move Murphy back to the other side within different pairings? Hopefully Rutta is back soon.

    Big test tomorrow night! A road win would be a big builder as some better quality opponents are around the corner that can’t be taken lightly. Need more points!

    Lets GO Hawks!

  16. These 3 games were a struggle. There were some really promising moments and that is good. There were some bad moments. Even Foley, the homer, said that the PP is buzzkill. It is most of the time. The first PP was good. The Hawks had the puck in the offensive zone the whole time and never even changed players. The second was horrendous. It is a mystery as to why Sharp shows up on the PP. Hartman did not bring much to the team that wasn’t already there. There really wasn’t much downside to him either. DeBrincat was excellent and was dangerous a couple times where he didn’t score. Good to see Saad get a goal, even though he almost fanned on DeBrincat’s great pass. The Toews goal was excellent. His hand/eye coordination was back on that goal with a nice top shelf finish. I don’t understand playing Hayden 7 minutes. His line has been good. Maybe it was a match-up thing. Glad to see Q cutting back on Keith’s minutes. The “genetic freak’s” genetics are starting to be like everybody else’s. The only time he gets a shot through is when it is a shot pass and those haven’t fooled anybody all season. He is excellent at goosing the opponent’s shot block stats. In all fairness, even when they were a great team, the Hawks didn’t do everything perfect, so nitpicking everything that goes wrong is a bit petty and I plead guilty. These were gritty, third period wins and it’s important that they believe they can do that. There was a time when we were all questioning. Now we need to know they can do it against good teams.

  17. I understand the frustration, but jeez they did win the game after all.

    The theme on this blog sometimes, reminds me of guy I used to work with.

    He was the type of person who would whine that he had to come in to work to pick up his Christmas bonus check…

    He was never satisfied…

    Oh well I guess it’s just human nature…

  18. Golden that was your first game there. Did you get to Malnatis.

    Phil that was a shoulder to the high chest and chin lower face.

    I think they got momentum from getting away with head hit. Looked like high chest and chin which is head. Were on PP for high hit and they donot score right after getting away with that.

    PP sucks. It has for 7 yrs. Wasnt 2012 the best yr we had % wise.

    Think we split first two games against WIN just like NAS. Not going to judge until we played two against them.

  19. Morrison yes it was the first time to Chicago and the United Center. What a great facility and beer was good. I just didn’t get to see the Hawks luckily I at least got to see the Bulls and a win. Did not get to Malnatis but enjoyed Millenium Park and Navy Pier and stayed at Hyatt Regency ( pretty close to everything)

  20. A win is a win but agree with most of you that we barely eked out these last three and now need to build off of it. ADB is looking like a solid NHL guy and is fitting nicely w 19 & 20.
    Power play is a joke and to SSH I’m pretty sure 88 came out of the blender at the point on the PP last week for a couple of games…to no improvement. Maybe it was just the rotation of the unit but I thought I saw him manning the point.
    I’m sure this is a minority opinion but I think 10 has started to skate and get a few decent looks the last few games. By no way is he producing like we need but compared to his abomination of a start to the season he has looked better.
    I was as hard as anyone on 5 ely on and he too has been progressing. I’m sure he will go back to his natural side due to injury to 44 and 11 but I’m afraid his improvement came when he switched sides and Im nervous him switching back might spell Stink!!
    Big game against Buff and the boys. Hawk team needs to step up with a big road performance after a little home cooking, especially with a somewhat depleted D Corps.
    BTW, IMO 12 was first star of the Florida game…

  21. Thats cool man. I was there when I was younger with dad and such. Everytime I have been there since 2010 its been one of those feelings that cant get better. I was there in 2013 and in 2015 for games in the fall NOV after we won in the spring and bought a new rubicon jeep in 15 and hung out at the beaches with got with blonde surfer girls. You talk about a all time high. It was like I was driving a zamboni around. Mowing the grass with a brand new john deer with a cab. Just vacuums the grass.

    After having Malnatis for the first time live anytime I saw it on pic or internet you almost drool because you know what its like.

    Whatever I didnt do the time before I did the next time. Cant do it all at once like Disney World.

    I even hanged out at Vince Vaughn movie spot with Connolly because I had a woman in charge there tell me Tazer hangs out there at times and players moms go there when there on the road between home games. Didnt see Tazer that trip. Did talk to Rocky and saw Q at the bar after game with coaches. Talked to Magnusons son there since Q likes his privacy. He ll yell at the staff if you go over to shake his hand. Thats why I really appreciated Keiths son coming over to me and drinking a beer with me and talking to me about hockey and then girls that were there. We got some girls going then.

    I like the Hyatt because of Chain Reaction.

    Cheers man. Go back everytime you can. When we win another Cup I am reserved there.

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