On Thursday night in Brooklyn, the Blackhawks blew away a number of trends – for better and worse.
Over their previous six games, the Blackhawks had:
- Scored only 11 goals (four of which came against Arizona)
- Allowed only nine goals
- Converted only two power plays (in 12 chances)
In the first two periods against the Islanders, the Blackhawks:
- Scored four goals
- Allowed four goals
- Scored three power play goals
The offense came early and often against in Brooklyn. After allowing just three goals in his previous four starts, Scott Darling allowed two goals in the game’s opening four minutes. Former Blackhawk Andrew Ladd opened the scoring 2:14 into the contest and Casey Cizikas doubled the lead 1:34 later.
Then the Blackhawks countered with an offensive surge of their own.
Ryan Hartman got Cizikas to take a penalty after delivering a big (clean) hit and Chicago made it count. Artemi Panarin made the deposit, scoring his 12th of the year.
Three minutes later, Dennis Seidenberg tripped Jonathan Toews. And, shockingly, the Blackhawks scored another power play goal. Artemi Panarin tied the game with his 14th of the season.
After scoring twice in 3:16, the Hawks needed to do something at even strength. And the Blackhawks’ top line did exactly that, as Hartman and Jonathan Toews set up Marian Hossa to give Chicago a 3-2 lead 65 seconds after tying the game.
Brooklyn hadn’t suddenly forgotten how to score, and Ryan Strome tied the game at three 72 seconds after Hossa’s goal.
The Blackhawks out-shot the Islanders 13-11 in the first period.
It appeared the offensive onslaught would continue when Anders Lee scored 22 seconds into the second period.
But then the game slowed down. A lot.
The two teams traded chances but it took 19:19 for the next goal to be scored.
The Islanders made the “mistake” of giving the Blackhawks a third advantage, and the Hawks cashed in again. And, again, it was Panarin doing the damage.
The Islanders out-shot the Blackhawks 14-7 in the period, but Darling played well after Lee gave Brooklyn the lead early in the second.
Heading into the third period, the Hawks had scored three power play goals and only been short-handed once. A game that opened with six goals in the opening 20 minutes took on the feel of “next goal wins.”
Brooklyn got the next power play in the game when Dennis Rasmussen went to the box for interference. But Chicago killed a second penalty on the night, and bounced back with a good attack. Rasmussen came back on the ice and his line generated a scoring opportunity.
Rasmussen set up Richard Panik for the go-ahead goal at 13:47 into the third.
Chicago hung on and won a game that looked ugly early. But Hartman’s big hit turned the momentum in the game and the Hawks were able to capitalize with another road victory.
- The last time the Blackhawks scored five goals in a game was Nov. 1 against Calgary.
- The last time the Blackhawks scored three power play goals was Oct. 30 against Los Angeles.
- And Thursday marked only the third time this season that the Blackhawks allowed four goals in regulation and won (vs. Philadelphia on Oct. 18 and in a shootout against Toronto on Oct. 22).
Panarin led Chicago with two goals and one assist, but nine of the Blackhawks forwards – the entire top three lines – had a point in the game. However, one of the fourth line guys who failed to register a point, Vinnie Hinostroza, led Chicago forwards with two blocked shots and two takeaways in only 9:50 on the ice.
Michal Kempny returned to the lineup but didn’t have a great night. He was minus-three in only 6:54 on the night. Brent Seabrook was also minus three, but picked up two assists in 20:32. Duncan Keith also had two helpers on the blue line.
Darling finished the night with 28 saves. The Blackhawks’ backup netminder has now won four of five; his only loss in that stretch was the 1-0 overtime loss to the Rangers at the United Center.