For 40 minutes, the Blackhawks and Canadiens did all they could to put the United Center to sleep. But a flurry of action in the final 20 minutes – and 43 seconds into overtime – sent fans home happy from the Hawks home finale.
The first two periods of Wednesday night’s game looked and felt like a preseason game, with little emotion and no scoring. The best player on the ice in the first two periods was Corey Crawford, who made 11 saves in the first nine minutes of the contest to keep the Hawks alive.
Dale Weise broke the painfully boring deadlock with his sixth goal of the season. Montreal’s lead would only last 3:03, though.
Jeremy Morin continued his strong play of late, scoring a goal in his third straight game to get the Hawks on the board. Morin has three goals and two assists in his last four games, and has continued to be an offensive spark.
Almost as quickly as the United Center woke up, the emotion was sucked out of the building. Francis Bouillon scored his second of the year only 22 seconds after Morin’s goal to put Montreal back in front.
Bouillon went to the box for holding with less than four minutes left in regulation, but the Hawks’ power play was worthless.
But with Crawford on the bench for the extra skater, Marian Hossa tied the game with less than 48 seconds showing the game clock. Coach Joel Quenneville sent out Michal Handzus to take the faceoff with Crawford off the ice, and the veteran center successfully won the draw. Handzus and Patrick Sharp were credited with assists on Hossa’s game-tying score.
The game went to overtime, but that didn’t last very long. Sharp scored his 34th of the season to finish the game.
Crawford made a number of spectacular saves in the game, including this diving effort to deny Max Pacioretty late in the game:
Chicago’s netminder made 38 saves in the game to earn the victory. Peter Budaj 25 saves for Montreal but came up short.
The Hawks’ power play failed twice in the game, but they stayed out of the box successfully.
Morin and Joakim Nordstrom, both of whom spent most of this season in Rockford, were both impressive against the Habs. Nordstrom skated 13:30 and was credited with one hit and one takeaway, while Morin was credited with one blocked shot with his fourth goal of the season.
Bryan Bickell led the Hawks with five hits.
Hossa and Sharp had one goal and one assist each in the victory. With two more points, Sharp extended his new career-high to 78 and is within two goals of his top total of 36, set in 2007-08 – the rookie season of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Duncan Keith picked up his 55th assist of the season, tying his career high.
Kane skated with the team on Wednesday morning, and Toews is expected to join the team this week. Quenneville indicated both are expected to be 100 percent for the start of the playoffs next week.