Rapid Reaction: Hawks 4, Rangers 2
Here's a quick look at t6he Blackhawks' win -- their first in 10 contests -- in New York on Thursday night.
How it happened: An offensive explosion in the first period combined with solid penalty killing made the difference as the Hawks got out to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a win for the first time since Jan. 20. Jonathan Toews started the scoring with a penalty shot goal after Dan Girardi covered up the puck with his glove in the Rangers’ crease just 1:05 into the game. Nick Leddy, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also tallied in the opening period as the latter two scored on breakaways after long outlet passes. In between scoring four, they killed off three New York power plays in the opening 20 minutes and seven for the game. The Rangers ruined the Hawks chances for their first shutout of the season with a Marc Staal goal early in the second but were held off the until late in the third period.
What it means: A solid and much needed win came after a great start but a key besides scoring early was Hawks’ penalty killing. The adjustments they made before losing to Nashville paid off as the Rangers had few shots and few good opportunities with the man advantage. On the other end of the ice, Chicago's stars showed up on offense. For once, the Hawks took advantage of mediocre goaltending instead of the other way around. Toews scoring on the penalty shot was huge as the Hawks couldn’t afford an early game letdown. Allowing just 24 total shots despite seven power-play attempts by New York was the defensive story of the game. When faced with a tough shot Corey Crawford made the saves he needed. It’s a huge win and one that could turn things around quickly for the Hawks. The losing streak is over at nine games.
What’s next: The Hawks complete their nine-game road trip with a game in Columbus on Saturday before returning home for a matinee matchup with St. Louis on Sunday.