When Duncan Keith was sidelined following right-knee surgery, the Blackhawks talked of everyone having to help more on defense.
Defensemen had to do a little more. Forwards had to help, too. But ultimately, the best line of defense is still the goaltender. And Corey Crawford has been doing is part.
Crawford stopped all 39 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout, and Jonathan Toews scored the overtime winner for the second consecutive game as the Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 1-0 on Monday night.
The Blackhawks’ last two victories are ones for the record books. Per Elias, since overtime was reintroduced in the NHL in the 1983-84 season, the Blackhawks are the first team to post consecutive overtime shutout victories.
Not bad for a team still working through changes and minus their top defenseman. And on Monday, much of the victory credit went to Crawford.
“He was excellent tonight,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The tests the last couple of games haven’t been as dramatic as it was tonight. It was one game when, especially as it was going on, they started coming at the end. Rebound control was in order and [he] challenged at the right times; big in those tight plays. They go to the net hard, so it was a dominating performance by him and very instrumental in why we got two points.”
Crawford, coming off a 21-stop outing against Tampa Bay was busier against the Ducks, especially late. Anaheim, which had scored just six goals in seven games entering tonight’s contest, outshot the Blackhawks 19-6 in the third period.
“Yeah, when I’m more involved I can definitely stay in the game easier. But you don’t want too much action,” Crawford said with a smile. “This one was a fun hockey game to play in. It was a tough test for us and told ourselves we had to stick with it after the second, be patient. It was a good, hard-fought win.”
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The Blackhawks thought they had the regulation winner when Artemi Panarin put one past Ducks goaltender Frederick Andersen. But Andersen pushed the net off its moorings and the goal was waved off. Review confirmed the call and the NHL’s situation room released the official explanation:
At 14:25 of the third period in the Ducks/Blackhawks game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Anaheim net. Video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that the Anaheim net was displaced before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.5 (x) "Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the referee when the net becomes displaced accidentally. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the net". Therefore the call on the ice stands: no goal Chicago.
The Blackhawks, however, got past that, getting a quick overtime winner again from the captain again.
“I think our puck carriers have done a good job trying to draw two players toward them and you just try and get speed going the other way. As you saw tonight, things are going to open up,” Toews said. “Sometimes that first shift, you’re waiting to tire out the other line and you get your one chance and it goes in. So we’ve been getting the bounces, getting the luck there so hopefully that keeps going for us if it goes down to 3-on-3.”
The Blackhawks got the necessary bounce in overtime. They got the necessary goaltending all night.
“They're big, they're strong, they're good at kind of being heavy on the puck down low and wearing you down,” Toews said. “You’re going to give up some scoring chances and Crow has really built that confidence early in the season that he can steal games for us and make a difference for us when it's a tight one, like it was tonight."