The New York Rangers pulled out a big victory, at the United Center, over the Chicago Blackhawks, in a back and forth, see-saw affair.
The first period was one of the worst periods of the season, for the Blackhawks. A sloppy turnover lead to Corey Crawford giving up a soft goal, off of a Brad Richards’ wrist shot, at 5:06, of the 1st period. A little over 2 minutes later, Brandon Bollig committed a very ill-advised roughing penalty, on former Hawk, Daniel Carcillo, a player who is infamous for ill-advised penalties. The penalty would prove costly, as Mats Zuccarello snuck a wraparound Power Play goal, by Crawford, to make it 2-0 Rangers. While the Hawks lead in Corsi For Percentage, at the end of the 1st period, with a very solid, 56.5%, sloppy turnovers continued to prevent the Hawks from cracking the scoreboard, before they headed to the locker room, for the 1st intermission.
The 2nd period started off with a night and day like difference, when compared to the 1st period. The Hawks were upping the pressure immensely, and when a team does that, good things will happen to them. The Hawks were no exception as Derick Brassard took an interference penalty, giving the Hawks their 2nd Power Play, of the game. This one however would prove to be fruitful, as the captain, Jonathan Toews got the Hawks on the board, with his 3rd Power Play goal, of the season, with assists from Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith. For Keith, it was his 40th assist, of the season. With the momentum, on their side, the Hawks kept it coming. This time it was Brandon Bollig, of all people, redeeming himself, for his costly penalty, in the 1st period, by scoring on Henrik Lundqvist, to tie the game at 2. The Hawks would keep up the pressure, until the horn sounded, and the score remained 2-2 after 2 periods of play.
With the 1st period being all Rangers, and the 2nd period being all Blackhawks, it was anyone’s guess who the 3rd period, as well as the game would belong to. With Michal Rozsival taking a Delay of Game penalty, it was the Rangers who would get the first real opportunities, of the 3rd period, but Corey Crawford was more than up to the tough task of preventing the Rangers from converting on their Power Play. At 9:49, of the 3rd period, Benoit Pouloit went to the Penalty Box, for hooking, and while the Hawks generated some good chances, Lundqvist was up to the task, as the Rangers killed a golden opportunity, for the Hawks. A few minutes after killing a big penalty Carl Haggelin took advantage of a Crawford rebound, to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. While trailing, the Hawks would generate more great chances, but King Henrik was more than up to the task, and prevented the Hawks from tying the game, as they end the game with a huge 3-2 win, over the Blackhawks.
It was a great game, as each team traded dominant periods, in the first 40 minutes, of the game, but it was the Rangers, who squeaked out the big road win, over the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The Hawks find themselves in a bit of a skid, where the trend is good relentless puck possession up until an ill-timed turnover is capitalized on, by the opposition. This has been happening quite often, lately, and perhaps in the grand scheme of things, this mini-slide, will be a good thing. Poor play is good for a gut check, that will shore up and get rid of any bugs, in a good team’s play. It’s better to have it now, than in the playoffs, which the Hawks are all but destined to reach, this season. The Hawks will be back at it Saturday, when they head north, across the border, to take on another Original Six opponent, the Montreal Canadiens. A few days off might be just what the Hawks need.