The Blackhawks flew to Denver after a good, winning performance in Denver on Thursday night. Collin Delia, recalled to fill in for Corey Crawford, got the call for his first start of the season – only the third appearance of his NHL career.
And he was facing one of the most powerful offenses in the NHL in Colorado.
So how do the Hawks get him up to NHL speed? Allow 14 shots on net in the first period.
Chicago might have been out-shot 14-9 in the first but they scored the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. Alex DeBrincat stayed hot, and the Hawks finished the first period with a lead for the second time in as many nights.
JT Compher tied the game in the second period, but Delia continued to play exceptionally well. Colorado held a 24-16 shot advantage after 40 minutes but the game was tied because the Hawks were willing to block shots, had active sticks and Delia was on his game.
Only 79 seconds into the third period, Patrick Kane exploded up the ice and rifled a shot on net. It slipped through Philipp Grubauer and Artem Anisimov tapped the puck the final couple inches into the net to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
The goal was huge for the Blackhawks on the ice, but was historic for Kane.
The helper also put him past Craig Janney for the 3rd most career assists by a US-born player at age 30 or younger (542. Most: 610- Phil Housley from 1982-95) https://t.co/ywYJAjgJWs
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) December 22, 2018
Delia continued to make big save after big save and the Hawks were able to hang on. A shot at the empty net hit a post with a couple seconds left in regulation but effectively ended the game.
Delia came up huge and earned a goalie win on the road in Colorado – no easy feat. He stopped 35 of 36 to earn two points for the Hawks.
The Blackhawks have now played three games in four nights – against pretty good teams – and Chicago has now won all three.
Brent Seabrook blocked a team-high six shots in the game. Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy blocked four each; it was good to see Murphy on the ice, much less playing well, after taking a high elbow to the face on Thursday night in Dallas. Gustafsson’s 23:16 led all Blackhawks skaters in the game.
Kane and Anisimov led the way with four shots on net each up front. Jonathan Toews was the only forward to skate more than 20 minutes in the game (21:51) and he won 14 of 23 faceoffs.
Colorado came in with the third-ranked power play in the NHL and were held to 0-for-5 in the game; they generated six shots on goal in five power play opportunities.
The three-game win streak for Chicago is the team’s first of the year and the first in the NHL career for coach Jeremy Colliton.