A battle between two of the top teams in the NHL provided outstanding action on Wednesday night.
When the dust settled, Minnesota netminder Niklas Backstrom was looking for his jock and Patrick Kane was leading a victorious Blackhawks team off the ice.
After a first period was thoroughly dominated by the Blackhawks, the scoring erupted in the second period. Marian Hossa started the fun with a power play goal, his 13th of the year. On the goal, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews recorded the 300th point of his career.
Just 89 seconds after Hossa started the scoring, Michael Frolik added to the Hawks’ lead. It was Frolik’s fourth goal of the year, and only his second since Nov. 6 against Vancouver.
However, as has been the trend with the Blackhawks this year, the lead disappeared. In less than five minutes after Frolik gave the Hawks a two-goal lead, Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cullen scored to send the game to the third period tied.
On Brodiak’s goal, the refs blew an obvious icing call, which was apparently waived off. During the third period, VERSUS reported that one of the officials apologized to coach Joel Quenneville for missing the call.
In the third, the two respected captains stepped up. Toews scored his 18th goal of the year, and Mikko Koivu answered just over eight minutes later with his eighth. After an exciting overtime period, it went to the skills competition.
Toews went five hole on Backstrom to open the scoring for Chicago, and then Kane put it away. After a rough performance in his first shootout appearance of the year, Ray Emery was strong, stopping both Cullen and Dany Heatley.
Emery stopped 27 of 30 shots in the game and won for the fourth time in December.
Wednesday night was the fifth time in six December games that the Blackhawks went into overtime; they have won four of those five contests (the exception being the shootout loss to Phoenix). In all, Chicago is now 7-1-1 in their last nine games and has won three straight.