In spite of being short-handed six times on Saturday night, the Blackhawks went into Dallas and dominated. Led by a stellar performance by Patrick Sharp, the Hawks earned a 5-2 victory over another division opponent.
Sharp was credited with an assist on each of Chicago’s first four goals in the game, 11 helpers in the season’s first 17 games. What’s more, because of the amount of time the Hawks spent killing penalties, Sharp was limited to only 15:31 on the ice in the win.
That penalty kill took care of business against one of the worst power play units in the league. Chicago successfully killed all six power plays in the game, which will help the Hawks improve significantly from their position as the 27th-ranked penalty kill in the league.
Andrew Shaw (4:45) and Brandon Saad (4:57) were pressed into additional duty on the penalty kill and played very well. Marcus Kruger once again showed improvement at the dot and played a good overall game. He won nine of 14 faceoffs, tied for the team lead with three blocked shots and was credited with one hit and one takeaway in the game. He skated 4:45 short-handed while serving two of the team’s six penalties.
Corey Crawford was phenomenal, stopping 31 of 33 shots to earn the win. His counterpart, Kari Lehtonen, didn’t finish with an outstanding save percentage (.867) but he kept Dallas in the game. Many of the 30 shots put on Lehtonen were either through traffic or from within a few feet of the net, and he stood tall the entire night.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Johnny Oduya each had two points to lead the offense. Niklas Hjalmarsson skated over six minutes on penalty kill duty in the game and tied for the team lead with three blocked shots in the game, and was rewarded with an empty-net short-handed goal in the game’s closing moments.
Brandon Bollig continues to impress as well. He saw time on each of the Hawks’ first two penalty kills, totaling over one minute of short-handed ice time in the game. He was credited with two blocked shots and a team-high four hits in the game, and skated 37 seconds and three shifts more than Bryan Bickell.
Cody Eakin and Tyler Seguin scored the two Dallas goals.
The Hawks come home to host the Edmonton Oilers at 6:30 pm CT on Sunday evening.