Wow, what a game.
The Chicago Blackhawks rallied past the New York Islanders to win 2-1 via shootout after stumbling throughout the game.
It wasn’t as pretty as the Hawks most recent few, but we’ll take it.
The Isles weren’t like many opponents the Hawks were used to, which is why this game seemed so out of reach. The Isles were aggressive, highly enforced, and used the body to create chances on the ice. As a fast paced team, the Hawks had to slightly adjust, but hung in there to achieve the win. But, coming back from a 1-0 deficit without a lot of key players was tough. They needed someone to step up and keep the game in reach.
One man who stood his ground to help out his team; Corey Crawford.
Crawford was phenomenal in his first start in three games, which took a span of eight days. He was finally healthy, but didn’t miss a beat, stopping 31 of 32 shots, holding a .969 save percentage. At times, the Hawks were outnumbered and outplayed, but good old 5-0 was there to say, “Hell no!” No doubt he was the Hawks number one star, although there is another player to thank.
Now, in hockey, there’s been a saying; When a player’s on a scoring drought, there’s an hour glass that ticks down until they can find their magical touch again. Sometimes, the hour glass is bigger than others, sometimes they may run out and peculiar times and give the player that wisdom to score at just the right time. For Artemi Panarin, his hour glass ran out with 1:14 remaining in the third period, when he tied the game with his infamous one-timer from the left circle.
Having not scored in his previous eight games, this was huge for the Bread Man.
The goal, however, ignited him even past the third period.
Panarin was able to settle the game in the shootout, scoring the winner after Jonathan Toews scored on the opening shot, lifting the Hawks 2-1 over the Isles and winning them their 11th game in their previous 12 played.
This game right here, while being surprisingly outplayed, finding a way to adjust and comeback, proves to show that this is a team who is a serious contender for the Stanley Cup. In their previous month, they’ve shown a new side of their game that we haven’t seen all year, proving themselves worthy of a long playoff run.
This is the team we love to watch.