Along the Boards: Blackhawks avoid season sweep with 3-2 shootout win over Coyotes

  

Coming off the 10-day hiatus for the NHL All-Star Break, the Blackhawks entered tonight’s game already down in the season series 0–2 and on the verge of being swept for the first time by the Arizona Coyotes.

The Hawks faced an already depleted Coyote team without defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and goalie Darcy Kuemper and they took full advantage in the first period. Mid-first period, Corey Crawford deflected a shot and the puck ended up in front of Patrick Kane who pushed it to Brandon Saad up the left side for his 14th goal of the season. This allowed Kane’s point streak to reach 12 games.

The first period was all Hawks and Corey Crawford used his whole body to block 12 shots on goal and give the Coyotes a 1–0 deficit to end the first period.

The Hawks would face a different animal from the Coyotes in the second period, however.

The away team started the second period off with a little déjà vu. Kane hit Saad for his second of the game (15th this season), putting the Hawks up 2–0. This time, Kirby Dach gets credited with an assist for his eighth on the season. Kane takes advantage of yet another defensive mistake by the Coyotes as they have four guys behind the goal line with Saad in front to flip one over Antti Raanta’s shoulder for the goal. Hawks up 2–0 and look to be cruising to a road “W”.

As previously stated, however, the Coyotes adjusted their game accordingly.

Halfway through the second period, Crawford stops an initial shot from Carl Soderberg, but the puck ricochets in front of an open Brad Richardson for his 4th goal this season. The Coyotes cut the deficit in half.

Then, Slater Koekkoek had Connor Garland one on one up the side, but he decided to switch at the last minute to block the net instead of staying the course allowing Garland to tie the game with a top-shelf goal for his 17th on the season. Surprisingly, Garland leads Arizona in goals. The Blackhawks and Coyotes were tied 2-2 at the end of two.

The third period was sloppy for the Hawks early on. Jonathan Toews got called for hooking and Olli Maatta got called for holding giving the Coyotes two big advantages. The Hawks weathered the storm though and both goalies did not break the whole third period. Hats off to both Crawford and Raanta for coming up with some spectacular saves to send it to OT.

Raanta at one point was on his stomach and had to kick his legs up to save a goal. 13 for 13 saves in the third. A heck of an adjustment for the Coyotes from the beginning of the game.

SHOOTOUT TIME BAYBAY!

Toews started it off with a slowdown goal to put the Hawks up 1–0 in the shootout. He is 4 for 7 this season now and 49 for 100 in his career. After a save by Crow on a Nick Schmaltz shot, it was showtime at the Gila River Arena. Kane, much like Toews, hits a chef’s kiss of a slow burn goal (5 for 7 on the season, 46 for 109 in his career) to put the Hawks up 2–0 with all the pressure on second-period villain Garland.

Crawford gets his revenge with the stop and the game that should have never seen more than three periods ends with a Hawks 3–2 win. Hawks now sit two points out of a playoff spot. Crawford improved to 10–13–2 on the season and 13–4–2 against the Coyotes in his career. Chicago’s very own stand at 25–21–6 heading into the rest of February.

The Blackhawks look to continue their after-break win streak as they lineup to play Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. CST. Happy Groundhog Day to all.

Center Ice Forums Along the Boards: Blackhawks avoid season sweep with 3-2 shootout win over Coyotes

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