The Chicago Blackhawks continue their somewhat see-saw season, winning 6-3 over the New York Rangers. Powered by five goals in the third period, which included a hat trick by Artem Anisimov, the Blackhawks ended the Blue Shirts’ six-game winning streak.
The Rangers opened the scoring in the first period, courtesy of a goal from Mika Zibanejad. The Blackhawks tied the game in the last minute of the second period, when a harmless shot on goal by Alex DeBrincat trickled in between Henrik Lundqvist’s legs.
Both the Hawks and the Rangers traded quick chances early in the third, which culminated in the first of Anisimov’s three goals. John Hayden made it 3-1 Blackhawks 45 seconds later. Anisimov would tally his second goal of the night on the power play 5:14 into the third.
A pair of goals scored by Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash cut the Hawks’ lead to one, until Anisimov completed the hat trick 16 minutes into the third, burying a savvy pass from Nick Schmaltz, who himself tallied three helpers for the night. Jonathan Toews scored the empty netter to seal the deal for the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks outshot the Rangers 43-28. Corey Crawford was solid in net, stopping 25 of 28 shots he faced. The Hawks killed all three powerplay opportunities by New York, and scored one powerplay goal in the five times they had the man advantage. They improve to 9-8-2, one game over .500 and are currently fourth in the Central Division.
Are the flood gates open?
This is the third straight game that the Blackhawks have scored more than three goals in a game. This is a welcome development, since the Hawks have struggled lately with scoring 5 on 5. Anisimov’s three goals, as well as Hayden’s tally, came with the Hawks having net front presence in the offensive zone, much like the goals they scored in the beginning of the season against Pittsburgh and Columbus. Hopefully the Hawks takes this aspect of the game into the rest of the season.
40 out of 60 aint bad… for now.
Playing 60 minutes. Coaches preach it. Players either credit wins on playing the full 60 or blames losses on not playing a full 60. The Blackhawks have been a Jekyll and Hyde team for the most part of the young season. Sometimes, you don’t know which Hawks team will appear on the ice on any given period, and tonight’s game was no exception. The Blackhawks were making sloppy passes and unforced errors in the first period. They were playing dump and chase and were not playing it well.
But after they killed a double minor by John Hayden late in the first, the Blackhawks gained a little more confidence. The passes became crisper, more tape to tape. They began the second period with sustained pressure on Lundqvist and never looked back. As the season reaches the quarter pole, the Hawks need to start turning in full sixty-minute games, if they are to earn sustained success.
The Blackhawks have two days off before they face the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are in a bit of a downward trend themselves, only winning two of their last six games.
My three stars
3. Rick Nash 1G 1A
2. Nick Schmaltz 3A
1. Artem Anisimov 3G