Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Anisimov, Crawford Star In 3-2 Overtime Thriller

By George Clifford
Oct 28, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils during overtime at Prudential Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Devils 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 28, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils during overtime at Prudential Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Devils 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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Artem Anisimov scored in OT and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Devils 3-2 for their first victory on the road.

Nothing’s been easy for the Chicago Blackhawks this season, and it took another third-period rally to tie the score last night against the New Jersey Devils before Artem Anisimov won it in overtime as Chicago won 3-2 at the Prudential Center.

Artemi Panarin and Marian Hossa also scored as the ‘Hawks notched their first road win, extending their season’s record to 4-3-1.

Here were some of the players and actions that stood out during this Blackhawks win.

Anisimov continues to star

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With his OT game-winner, Anisimov has now scored 5 goals and is riding a six-game point streak. The NHL’s second star of the week also improved at the faceoff circle, winning 50 percent of his draws.

The Blackhawks’ big centerman is really paying off on his 5-year contract, showing a nose for the net and the power to dominate around the crease.

Crawford keeps it close

Stopping 30 of 32 shots overall, Corey Crawford’s brilliant play kept the Blackhawks in the game early as the Devils outshot Chicago 28-12 in the first two periods. Crawford’s even-strength save percentage of .971 leads the league and is a major factor in the team’s winning record.

Same story, happier ending

In a troubling trend, the Blackhawks fell behind early and chased the game, then sparked a furious third-period rally that would end in OT victory. After serving a silly slashing penalty, Patrick Kane quickly drew a 4-minute double-minor that the ‘Hawks converted to tie the game 2-2 on Hossa’s 501st NHL goal.

Shot suppression is still a major shortfall, putting the Blackhawks at an early disadvantage, but Chicago held firm in the third, limiting the Devils to a paltry four shots on goal. In a big turnaround, the Blackhawks finally won the faceoff battle, 57-43 percent.

Special teams getting better

Perhaps just “baby steps” to some, but the Blackhawks penalty killing unit finally got the job done, going 3 of 4 — a giant leap from the horrendous kill rate of past games. The ‘Hawks put much more pressure on the puck, especially up-ice, to severely limit zone time in three successful kills.

The powerplay scored on 2 of 5 chances — Panarin’s laser from the left dot to tie the score 1-1 in the second, and Hossa’s heroics in the third. The Blackhawks are still passing up opportunities to shoot or take the puck to the net, but zone time is on the rise.

Next: Chicago Blackhawks' Forward Alex DeBrincat is Organization's Future

It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t easy, but last night the Blackhawks earned two points and a big win on the road.

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