Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night:
1. Corey Crawford continues to shine.
If it weren't for Crawford and his timely saves, the score and outcome may have been completely different. He's clearly been the MVP of the team so far this season and showed why again after stopping 30 of 32 shots — 28 of those in the first two periods — in Friday's overtime win over the Devils. Crawford has allowed 17 goals this season, but 13 of them have come on the power play. His even strength save percentage improved to .971, which ranks No. 1 among all starting goaltenders.
2. Patrick Kane getting hot.
Kane is on a quiet little three-game point streak, and has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last six games. It was Game 6 last year when he started a streak of registering at least a point in 26 consecutive games, a franchise record. His three-game point streak began on the sixth game this year, too. Could we see another lengthy one coming? Probably not, but it's worth watching how this plays out.
3. Artem Anisimov extends point streak, improves at faceoff circle.
Anisimov extended his point streak to a career-best six games, and scored his second game-winning goal of the season. He now has five goals and five assists during that streak, in which the Blackhawks are 4-1-1, on top of a plus-8 rating and an astonishing 45.5 shooting percentage.
He's also gotten a slow start at the dot this year, but fared much better against the Devils, winning eight of 16 draws. Entering Friday, he won only 35 of 100 faceoffs.
4. Special teams come up big.
The Blackhawks' penalty kill allowed another goal, but it moved above 50 percent on the season and killed off a crucial penalty towards the latter stages of the third period while trailing 2-1. After killing off a Patrick Kane slashing penalty, the Blackhawks went on a four-minute power play thanks to a Vernon Fiddler double-minor high-sticking penalty and they capitalized.
With 2:11 left and Crawford pulled for the extra attacker, Marian Hossa potted the game-tying goal that essentially forced overtime. It was the second power-play goal of the game for the Blackhawks, who finished 2-for-5 on the man advantage and went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill. Progress.
5. Top dogs get heavy minutes.
After relying heavily on his top guys in a 5-4 shootout win over Toronto last Saturday, coach Joel Quenneville said he wants to balance out the lines more and distribute the minutes more evenly throughout the roster.
The top two lines absorbed the majority of the ice time on Friday, led by Patrick Kane (23:34) and Jonathan Toews (22:48), but it was justified this time around considering a chunk of that time was spent either on the power play or penalty kill.