Sunday, March 18, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Capitals 2
CHICAGO -- A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday night at the United Center.
How it happened: For the second straight game, the Hawks got out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Andrew Shaw and Viktor Stalberg. Shaw made a nice toe-drag move to start a scoring sequence. He then touched the puck as it went by on a Duncan Keith rebound shot. About four minutes later, Stalberg blew by defenseman Dimitry Orlov for his 18th goal of the season. The Hawks added two more in the second as Andrew Brunette and Patrick Kane worked a nice passing play with Kane getting an open-side score, his 19th. Then Shaw scored again after winning a puck battle behind the Washington net. The Capitals scored twice in the middle period. A Niklas Hjalmarsson turnover led to one Caps goal, then Alexander Ovechkin undressed Duncan Keith with a move for Washington’s second score. The home team added an empty-net goal by Bryan Bickell to seal the deal.
What it means: It’s another stepping stone as the Hawks march towards the postseason. As good as the first period was two nights earlier in Dallas, this one was even better. They gave up just three shots on net with the first coming 16 minutes into the game. That’s the way to start the night. Shaw continues to show off his skill and grit, as well as his hockey IQ. He played great as did Kane, whose level of play has been higher for a while now. The Hawks have been making it easier on their goaltender of late. They allowed just 18 shots on the night, with the three-shot opening period setting the tone. The starts to the last two games can’t be overstated. It’s a winning playoff formula.
What’s next: After a practice day on Monday the Hawks complete their season series with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in Columbus. The Hawks are 5-0 against the Jackets this season.