Along the Boards: Blackhawks win three straight, defeat Canadiens 4-1

  

After a deserving overtime win in Ottawa last night, the Blackhawks looked to continue their hot streak against the sinking Montréal Canadiens.

Of course, Corey Crawford got the start at the Bell Centre against his hometown team. This stat shows you all you need to know about how good Crow is against the Habs.

The first period was weird, but also good for the visitors. Both goalies had misplays, but Charlie Lindgren‘s was the one that cost his team. Miscommunication behind the net on the Habs power play led to the puck finding Drake Caggiula, who passed it to a wide-open Zack Smith, and you know he’s not going to miss an open-net chance like that. As he said in the first intermission interview with Steve Konroyd, “Sometimes when you’re struggling, if the goalie’s not in the net, that helps for scoring goals.”

But that wasn’t the only goal Smith would score in the opening 20 minutes. He had a great deflection off Slater Koekkoek‘s shot and tipped it right by Lindgren to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The weirdness trend continued into the second period. After a competitive first period by the Blackhawks, the Toews line completely fell apart within the first minute of the middle frame and former Blackhawk Phillip Danault got the Habs on the board off a ridiculous pass by Ilya Kovalchuk.

Just over halfway through the period, Max Domi took a bad penalty after he and Matthew Highmore collided. The power play went to work, and Charlie Lindgren made a flurry of stops before Adam Boqvist kept the puck in at the blue line. Jonathan Toews sent a pass over to Patrick Kane, who found a Alex DeBrincat in the slot. He didn’t miss his opportunity to bury the one-timer on the man advantage.

As the game went on, the Blackhawks continued to let the Canadiens basically skate in circles around them. The start of the third period was just as bad as the beginning of the second. But as each period continued, the Habs took their foot off the gas and let the Blackhawks back into the game.

The Canadiens were then called for too many men, and the Blackhawks went to the power play. We thought they scored, but it was clear that Toews kicked the puck into the net, even if he didn’t do it intentionally.

Even though the power-play goal was erased, the Blackhawks kept pushing and Drake Caggiula forced Jordan Weal to turn the puck over. With space and time, Caggiula buried one past Lindgren to extend Chicago’s lead to 4-3.

Despite the depth scoring and Crawford stopping 31 of 32 shots, this wasn’t the best overall game from the Blackhawks. But they pulled out a win against a struggling team, and that’s really all you can ask for.

Along the Boards

Considering that Zack Smith isn’t an offensive-minded player, this stat is wild. He’s good defensively and that’s why he’s on the penalty kill, but it’s awesome to see that he’s able to get in on the offense shorthanded, too.

Patrick Kane’s assist on Alex DeBrincat’s goal puts him two points away from 1,000 in his NHL career. It was also his 36th assist and 60th point of the season, putting him seventh and ninth in the league in each category. He’s on pace for another 100-plus point season.

How does this make sense? It doesn’t. Hockey is weird.

The Blackhawks will continue their eastern Canadian road trip this Saturday when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST. 

Center Ice Forums Along the Boards: Blackhawks win three straight, defeat Canadiens 4-1

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