The Blackhawks have had a few tests already this season, from revamping after a summer of roster turnover to readjusting in the wake of key injuries.
Couple the changes with playing the ultra-hot Los Angeles Kings, winners of seven in a row entering Monday night, and it could have been a tough night. Instead, the Blackhawks notched a character victory that could give them confidence.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and Corey Crawford stopped 33 of 35 shots as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Kings, 4-2, at the United Center. The Blackhawks snapped a two-game losing streak in their come-from-behind victory, which came without Duncan Keith (right knee) and Marian Hossa, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Teuvo Teravainen scored the game-winning goal about nine minutes into the third, and Artem Anisimov recorded a short-handed goal to seal it. Jonathan Toews scored his fifth goal in as many games; he also added an assist.
Crawford stopped all 19 of the Kings’ third-period shots.
“I didn’t feel that great in the first period, maybe the first half of the game,” Crawford said. “I was able to settle down there.”
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On a night when the Blackhawks needed a little bit from everyone, they got it.
“They’re a team that never really gives up. They keep playing their game throughout the whole game,” Crawford said. “We got into a little trouble there with the penalty at the end, but I thought we played well. A lot of guys were skating hard, making the right plays.”
The Blackhawks showed that early when Ryan Garbutt and Toews broke on a 2-on-1, with Garbutt feeding Toews for a 1-0 lead about six minutes into the game. The Blackhawks got quiet after that as the Kings scored twice, including Anze Kopitar’s goal late in the first period, to take a 2-1 lead.
After a mundane second period, the Blackhawks woke up in the third. Kane’s high shot beat Jonathan Quick just 1:22 into the third, with Teravainen added his third of the season about eight minutes later.
“It’s huge, of course, for myself and for the team,” said Teravainen, who was on the second line with Anisimov and Kane. “It’s a lot of fun. I think I’m going to enjoy my chance, and I think we were OK today. We got some chances, and I think we can still move better, get some puck movement and we can do a better job, too.”
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Anisimov, taking the pass from Toews on a late penalty kill, went forehand for his fifth goal of the season.
“We can’t score on breakaways except for Arty,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “So it was nice to see him finish it.”
The Blackhawks had plenty of finish on Monday night. The first month of the season has been filled with uncertainty and adjustments to all of their changes. They’re still going to be finding their way for a bit, but a comeback game like this should certainly give them a boost.
“Going down 2-1 and going into the third down a goal, that's a big confidence booster for us knowing that we can come back, we can score goals,” Kane said. “We've been struggling to score 5-on-5, and we had three (goals) tonight 5-on-5. That's a big step for us in the right direction. Huge, huge win against a good team. So hopefully this gives us some confidence moving forward and we can keep trending off this.”