Patrick Sharp scored the Blackhawks’ first goal in regulation and the shootout winner, and Corey Crawford made a number of huge saves late in the third period as the Blackhawks earned a hard-fought two points in Carolina on Tuesday night.
Sharp opened the scoring at 7:56 with his first goal of the season. The goal was the 200th of his NHL career, 190 of which have come wearing a Blackhawks’ sweater. He is now seven goals behind Troy Murray for 18th in franchise history, and six points away from 400 with the Blackhawks.
Marian Hossa followed suit with his second goal of the season; the other was an empty net goal. Hossa’s goal came moments after an Eric Staal penalty expired, and was credited as an even strength score. The Hawks were officially o-3 on the power play in the game.
Chicago dominated the first period, out-shooting Carolina 15-5 and taking a two-goal lead to the dressing rooms. However, the Hawks were out-shot 14-8 in a second period that saw them short-handed twice, and Carolina had a number of good scoring opportunities.
In the third, Alex Semin got the Canes on the board at 3:54. Ron Hainsey tied the game with a long shot that got through Crawford, but Chicago’s netminder was without his stick and was screened well by… Michal Rozsival.
Rozsival didn’t have a very good night. He spent four minutes in the penalty box and 13:27 on the ice, and was frequently out of position.
Bryan Bickell also had a less-than-stellar night, putting only one shot on net in 22 shifts and 17:31 on the ice. He also took an incredibly lazy hooking penalty with 2:30 left in overtime that could have easily cost the Blackhawks a second point.
But, thanks to Crawford, the night ended with the second point.
Crawford faced 34 shots in the game, 29 coming in the final 45 minutes. He was forced to make a couple tough saves at the end of regulation, and made a number of key saves during the overtime penalty kill. In the shootout, he stopped all three Carolina shooters to preserve the victory.
For the season, Crawford improved to 3-1-1 with a .917 save percentage.
Brandon Bollig had another steady game in a fourth line role. Although he only skated 13 shifts and 9:14, Bollig led the Hawks with six hits and was also credited with a blocked shot.
Niklas Halmarsson skated 26:00 and led the team with seven blocked shots. His partner on the blue line, Johnny Oduya, led the team with 26:05 on the ice and was also credited with to blocked shots.
The Hawks top defensive pair had another strong performance as well. Duncan Keith was incredibly active, putting four shots on net and blocking two Carolina shots. He had an ugly turnover in the final moment of regulation, but Crawford bailed him out. Meanwhile, Brent Seabrook was credited with five blocked shots, three hits and two takeaways.
After disappointing performances in the first three games of the season, the Blackhawks have now killed all nine penalties they have faced in their last three games.
Another area of concern for the Hawks this season as been in faceoffs, and the numbers on Tuesday night were intriguing. Michal Handzus skated only 14:34 but led the team in faceoffs taken (22). He won 12 of his 22 draws; the only other Hawks player to win more than half of his faceoffs was Sharp, who won three of five. Jonathan Toews won only six of 21 faceoffs, and Andrew Shaw won only three of 13 in the game.
Shaw, Handzus and Brandon Saad were credited with assists in the game.