Chicago Blackhawks: New York Islanders
CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at the United Center on Friday.
How it happened: With the game tied at 2-2 in the second period, Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus scored the winner when he cleaned up a rebound in front of the net off a Duncan Keith shot. The Blackhawks were in control for nearly all of the first period and went ahead 2-0 thanks to goals by Joakim Nordstrom and Jonathan Toews. Nordstrom’s goal was the first of his NHL career. As much as the Islanders struggled early, they owned the final minute of the opening period. They evened the game with a goal by Josh Bailey with 55 seconds left in the period and another by Kyle Okposo with five seconds remaining. The Blackhawks kept the Islanders off the board the rest of the way. Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made his season debut and stopped 17 of 19 shots.
What it means: The Blackhawks felt like they squandered points in their previous two games with collapses in the third period. They held strong in the third period on Friday and pulled out the one-goal win. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville toyed with his lines throughout the game. Among the notable changes, he demoted Bryan Bickell from the top line to the third line and made Andrew Shaw the second-line center and Handzus the fourth-line center. The Blackhawks improved to 2-1-1 on the season.
Star of the game: Toews had one of his usual all-around games. He scored a goal, had a game-high seven shots on goal, was 16-for-23 on faceoffs and had one takeaway.
Stat of the game: The Blackhawks took 69 total shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots), compared to the Islanders’ 39 shots.
What’s next: The Blackhawks will play again at home Saturday, against the Buffalo Sabres. It will be the first of 18 sets of back-to-backs for Chicago this season.
How it Happened: Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp connected in overtime, just as they did in regulation and Ray Emery earned his 99th career win. Hossa scored his 400th career goal. The Hawks got an early lead thanks to Hossa, who scored on the power play from behind the Islanders net. Later, he assisted on a beauty of a one-timer by Sharp, but the Islanders closed the gap with a good finish to the second period when Travis Hamonic got a puck past Emery to make it 2-1. Then New York went on a 5-on-3 power play spanning the end of the second period and the beginning of the third, but the lowly ranked Hawks penalty killing units prevailed. The Islanders tied the game when Steve Staios scored from the point late in the third period, forcing overtime. That’s when Hossa grabbed a puck and exploded into the offensive zone before sending one on net which Sharp rebounded for the winner. The two combined for six points but it was Emery who set the tone with a solid first period and continued with some big saves during the two-man disadvantage and throughout the rest of the game.
What it Means: For starters, it probably means another night in net for Emery. He was one reason the Hawks led after the first period for just the 11th time this season in 29 games. He moved well, didn’t give up many rebounds and made the big saves the Hawks have been needing and looking for. Hossa and Sharp were clicking on offense early and late but the Hawks didn’t gain much momentum from killing off the 5-on-3 power play by the Islanders. Instead of pushing the pace they laid back, eventually giving up the tying goal, but the play by Hossa and Sharp in overtime made up for an average third period. Hossa, Sharp and Emery were fantastic, improving the Hawks record to 17-8-4. They’ve won four in a row on the road.
Hossa’s 400: Hossa became the 85th player in NHL history to score 400 goals. He had a goal and an assist and has 855 points in his career.
What’s Next: The Hawks return home with a couple days between games before hosting the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at the United Center.
CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Blackhawks shootout win over the Islanders on Friday.
How it happened: The Hawks trailed twice in the game but stormed back with a good second period only to give up two leads in the third. Jonathan Toews scored the lone shootout tally to get the Hawks their eighth home win of the season. Toews also scored a huge shorthanded goal late in the second to give the Hawks their first lead of the game at 3-2. New York tied it on its second power-play goal of the night before the Hawks finally broke through for a man-advantage tally by Patrick Sharp. Three minutes later, the Islanders tied it again when Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith got tied up in their own zone giving Nino Niederreiter a lane to skate and shoot. Andrew Brunette scored back in the first but the home team trailed 2-1 after one before waking up.
What it means: It was not the best effort for either team as they both gave up multiple leads in the game. The Hawks played a poor first period but responded well in the second when they gave up only two shots on net. But twice they couldn’t hold onto early third period leads and their penalty killing again gave up chances and goals (2). They looked out of sync but managed just enough offense to get the win. By any account, Corey Crawford is in a slump and a woeful Islanders’ offense didn’t help him get out of it. It’s a much needed win but a shaky one.
What’s next: The Hawks take off for St. Louis where they’ll meet a hot Blues team on Saturday. St. Louis shut out the Hawks 3-0 last month in Ken Hitchcock’s coaching debut.
The Hawks responded well after a poor first period. They tied the game on Ben Smith’s first goal of the season, playing after being a healthy scratch for the last four contests. They took their first lead of the game with just over a minute to play when Jonathan Toews stole a puck while killing a penalty, scoring his 14th of the season.
The Hawks gave up just two shots on goal in the period. New York scored twice in the opening period while Andrew Brunette has the other Hawks tally.
The Hawks continued a trend of mediocre play in opening periods, giving up 13 shots to a team that averages just eight in first periods this season. They scored on two of them, one on the power play after Kyle Okposo put in a rebound when Niklas Hjalmarsson lost track of him. Later, Matt Moulson shot a quick one by Corey Crawford who looked like he didn’t see the puck go by.
The Hawks got on the board after a great rush by their fourth line when Dan Carcillo found Sean O’Donnell in the middle of the ice. O’Donnell moved to his right but dropped the puck back to his left where Andrew Brunette buried it.
The Hawks were sloppy in their own end and the power-play goal they gave up came after a too many men on the ice penalty. Overall, it was a bad first period for the Hawks.