Crawford, Blackhawks tame Wild

The Chicago Blackhawks won their second meeting of the year against Central Division rivals the Minnesota Wild, on the backs of a complete team effort and Corey Crawford’s second shutout win in as many games.

The Blackhawks and the Wild were scoreless through two periods, trading scoring chances back and forth.  Artem Anisimov broke the goalless tie in the third period, tipping in a shot from Duncan Keith on the powerplay.  The goal extended Anisimov’s scoring streak to four games.  Alex DeBrincat put the game away with almost a minute and a half left, potting in a pass from Jonathan Toews for an empty net goal.

The Blackhawks’ record improves to 7-5-2. Their record against the Central Division improves to 2-4-0.  They are currently tied with the Nashville Predators for fifth in the division.

#crOwMG Part Deux

Corey Crawford continues his spectacular start to the early season, posting his second shutout in as many games.  He repelled all 24 shots on goal generated by the Wild.  Crow bailed out his team multiple times during the game, including turning away some chances that stemmed from defensive errors made by Brent Seabrook.  Crawford now has league-leading 1.75 goals against average and .945 save percentage.

Complete game

The Blackhawks continue executing a more complete game, a real welcome development from the past outings.  Much like their game against the Philadelphia Flyers, they played all 200 feet of the ice.  They had less structural breakdowns, for the most part.  They also have found a way to have better puck control and won most of their board battles.  The Blackhawks, for the most part though, still need to improve their puck possession numbers and generate more net front presence.  They also need to be less cute with their chances, as evidenced by Richard Panik and Jonathan Toews trying to be cute with the puck when they were left alone in front of Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk in the first period.  Instead of shooting the puck and crashing the net for a rebound, Panik tried a spinorama pass to Toews that Dubnyk easily intercepted.

Kempny, Franson settling in

Michal Kempny and Cody Franson had really good games last night.  Franson seems to be flourishing in the top defensive pairing with Duncan Keith.  They shut down Minnesota’s top line adeptly, and played in the top powerplay and penalty kill units.  Kempny is also acquitting himself well in the third defensive pairing with Connor Murphy.  He played almost 18 minutes last night, and led the team with six shots on goal.  He was all over the ice, disrupting plays and taking away scoring opportunities in the Hawks’ defensive zone.

Next game

The Blackhawks finish a back to back tonight when they face the Montreal Canadiens at home.  The Habs have been struggling in their early season, which really means that star goalie Carey Price has been struggling.  The team has 4-8-1 record coming in to tonight’s game, and Price, who will not play tonight due to a “minor, lower body injury”, has a 3.77 goals against average and .877 save percentage.  The Habs did win their game last night against the Winnipeg Jets, turning a 4-2 deficit in the third period into a 5-4 overtime win on the back of a clutch OT goal by captain Max Pacioretty.

Injury report

Gustav Forsling is still out with a upper body injury.  Marian Hossa, Michal Roszival and Jordin Tootoo are still in LTIR.

My three stars

3. Alex DeBrincat 1G
2. Artem Anisimov 1G, four game goal scoring streak
1. Corey Crawford 24 save shutout, second shutout in as many games

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