Back in his hometown, Corey Crawford once again played elite hockey to lead the Hawks. With him playing elite hockey between the pipes, Joel Quenneville made history.
In the first period, three goals were scored in 4:30 in what was a fast, back-and-forth opening 20 minutes. Andrew Shaw made a terrific play to set up Jonathan Toews on the doorstep for his 17th of the season to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead, but Montreal got a fluke off Paul Byron to tie the game 2:10 later.
The Hawks continued to dominate the action, though, and Ryan Garbutt scored his second of the season to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. Richard Panik picked up an assist on the goal, his first point with the Blackhawks in only his second game with the team.
Crawford made a number of incredible saves in the first, and was enormous in the second period. Neither team scored in the second but Montreal had the better scoring chances in the middle frame. Chicago’s defensemen helped clear pucks and there were a few big blocks by Brent Seabrook and Michal Rozsival, but Crawford was the show through 40 minutes.
Five minutes into the third, Niklas Hjalmarsson went to the box and Chicago had to kill their first penalty of the night. Late in the kill, Marian Hossa took a stick to the face on a shot follow-thru and was bloody on the ice. The Hawks successfully took care of the Habs’ advantage, but Hossa missed a number of shifts while getting some repairs.
With the Hawks clinging to a one-goal lead and Montreal attacking with an empty net late in the third period, Chicago had their third line of Phillip Danault, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrew Desjardins on the ice. They were able to clear the puck and get off. Hossa saved an icing in the final seconds to secure the victory.
Crawford made 39 saves in a superb win. Danault, also in his hometown, had a nice night as well with with three hits, one blocked shot and winning nine of 17 faceoffs. Hossa led the way with five shots on net, and Toews won 14 of 23 at the dot with his goal.
On the blue line, Erik Gustafsson was scratched because of a lower-body issue that cut his morning skate short. With both Rozsival and Rob Scuderi in the lineup, the Hawks were still able to spread out the ice time nicely with all six defensemen playing well.
And Joel Quenneville is now second all-time in coaching victories in NHL history.