Nov 4, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) scores a goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) as defenseman Andrei Markov (79) defends during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t Call It a Comeback: Hawks Shut Out Habs 5-0!
Facing the prospect of slipping to a 6-6-1 record and falling farther behind in the Central Division if they didn’t pull out a win tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks needed to lift themselves out of their slump and come back in a big way.
To the surprise of exactly no one, Coach Quenneville shook up the lines and broke the emergency glass to take out the Hail Mary line by putting Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together on a line.
Whether it was the line shakeup or the Hawks pulling themselves out of the funk on their own, it was a welcome about face for frustrated fans. Canadiens goalie Carey Price got lit up more and more as the game wore on. The Hawks were back to their old scoring ways.
Here’s the recap:
The Hawks started off with an early penalty on Duncan Keith that was killed, but a few minutes later, Kris Versteeg was sent off for interference. Fortunately, the Habs were called for embellishment so the Hawks didn’t have to kill another penalty for a while.
Midway through the period, the Hawks got their first power play, and they finally converted as Jonathan Toews tallied his 200th career goal (assisted by Keith and Andrew Shaw). #19 became the 19th Blackhawk to reach that milestone.
Apart from the goal he allowed, Price made some ridiculous stops, including one involving a puck coming straight down over the net that he managed to swat away. For his part, Hawks goalie Corey Crawford had some fantastic stops as well, especially on the penalty kill.
Although the Hawks were starting to show a lot more grit overall then in previous games, after 20 minutes they were still down in shots on goal: just 5 to Montreal’s 11.
In contrast to their usual 2nd period play so far this season, the Hawks cranked it up a notch in this game. They kept pressuring the Habs and shot the puck a lot more, eventually overtaking the Habs in shots on goal, 22 to 19.
Marcus Kruger scored off a double deflection about midway through the period (assisted by David Rundblad and Bryan Bickell). It was his first goal and second point of the season, increasing the lead to 2-0.
The Hawks had a big power play opportunity toward the end of the period and managed to keep it in the Habs end, but their shots on goal took an untimely nosedive. At least for the occasion that Crawford had to face some shots in the period, he stayed sharp and didn’t let anything through.
The final frame can be summed up best in one word: floodgates.
The Hawks didn’t put on the breaks and coast with a 2-0 lead, as they have had the bad habit of doing in the past. Instead, they turned up the heat and unleashed shots on Price like a fighter taking his frustrations out on a sparring dummy.
Early in the period, with a bit more time left on the power play, Toews was called for hooking. But at the same time, the Habs were called for yet another embellishment penalty. First period déjà vu . . . almost. Except the Hawks scored triple the goals!
- Brad Richards tip-in at 2:22 (assisted by Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad)
- Kane backhander at 12:31 (assisted by the Captain and Niklas Hjalmarsson)
- Versteeg backhander at 14:46 (assisted by Bickell and Rundblad, both of whom also assisted on the earlier Kruger goal)
In the end, the Hawks edged the Habs in shots on goal 32 to 28, but more importantly got a HUGE win and the shutout! They improve to a 7-5-1 record.
- With 28 saves, Corey Crawford got his first shutout of the year, first against his hometown team, and 11th of his career.
- NET FRONT PRESENCE! That is all.
- Sharp left the game in the 3rd period with an apparent knee injury. Let’s all send positive vibes his way and hope it isn’t too serious so that he can return soon.
Next game is on Friday at home against the Washington Capitals. And speaking of games against the Caps, the Hawks will be unveiling their Winter Classic jerseys tomorrow! You can watch the unveiling live on the Blackhawks website or mobile app.