Five Things from Blackhawks-Kings: Corey Crawford stellar again

Five Things from Blackhawks-Kings: Corey Crawford stellar again

The Blackhawks entered Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings feeling better about themselves, thanks to a victory in New Jersey on Friday.

Building off victories or good things done in games, however, hasn’t been so easy this season. But on Sunday, the Blackhawks were looking like their old selves. Is this the start of a trend in the right direction? As coach Joel Quenneville often says, “we’ll see.” Until then, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-0 victory over the Kings.

1. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill had an unblemished night. Yes, the Blackhawks just had to kill off two penalties but they did it – they’ve had three other games in which they took just two penalties and couldn’t get through both. You could tell Quenneville didn’t want to jinx the kill’s recent success – when asked about it following the game, he simply knocked on the lectern and left it at that. Marian Hossa said more about it. “We were showing better signs the last couple of games in the penalty kill and I think it’s great for the confidence for the whole team, for our goalies, and feels definitely good we didn’t get scored on,” he said.

2. Marian Hossa honored. One game after scoring his 501st career regular-season goal, Hossa was honored for his 500th in a pregame ceremony. His youngest daughter stole the show, grabbing her father’s nose to the delight of the United Center crowd and GIF makers. After receiving a gold stick – to go with the silver one he received for playing in his 1,000th regular-season game – Hossa continued to find some solid chemistry with second-line mates Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin.

3. Jonathan Toews gets his first of the season. You could tell from the captain’s reaction he was thrilled – perhaps even a little relieved – to get that first goal of the season. The Blackhawks have said a few times that Toews’ overall play was how they judged him, and that the goals would come at some point. Toews usually does take a few games to get going scoring-wise, so it wasn’t alarming. But a two-point night that included that first goal was nevertheless a good sign.

[RELATED: Corey Crawford, Blackhawks blank Kings]

4. Anisimov continues to score. Yes, the second-line center knows his faceoffs need to improve – he and Yanic Perreault did some work on those earlier this week. But as far as his offensive production, Anisimov is doing just fine. His second-period goal, off the pass from Hossa, ties him with Richard Panik with a team-high six goals. His seven-game point streak is a career best.

5. Corey Crawford collects career shutout No. 20. Crawford had a rather laid-back reaction to finding out he recorded that 20th shutout – “uh, it’s nice,” he said with a smile. Crawford’s taken his lumps with the rest of the Blackhawks’ penalty kill but overall he’s played well. He’s now stopped 62 of the 64 shots he’s seen in his last two games, including all 32 he saw against the Kings on Sunday.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's 250th win puts him in elite company


Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's 250th win puts him in elite company

Corey Crawford captured a coveted goalie milestone with another solid performance in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Blackhawks on Friday in New Jersey. The Hawks (12-12-5) beat the Atlantic division-leading Bruins 4-3 in overtime in Boston with Robin Lehner in net on Thursday before playing the Devils, last in the Metropolitan, Friday with Crawford starting. 

"It's important to try to climb back up in the standings," Crawford said following the game. "We had a few tough games, it seems like it's been pretty streaky the first quarter of the season, but when we're playing well I think we're pretty tough to beat. We just got to try to find that game as much as possible. 

"But that was obviously a big win to start it and against one of the best teams in the league (the Bruins) and having a big lead too, going late into the third period, and then a team that's a little bit lower in the standings (the Devils), but you still have to come out hard and play, no games are easy. It was pretty competitive out there but it's nice to find a way to win." 

The two-time Stanley Cup champ saved 29 of 30 shots through overtime, including a Miles Wood breakaway with 11 seconds remaining in the second period and the game tied 1-1. He also stopped three of five New Jersey Devils shooters including Taylor Hall and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes in the shootout. 

Crawford became the 59th goalie in NHL history to record 250 wins. The 34-year-old is one of 13 active NHL goalies and just the third Hawks netminder to reach the milestone (Glen Hall: 276, Tony Esposito: 418).

Crawford is 250-149-52 in 464 games with the Blackhawks and has 26 shutouts. 

5 Takeaways: Kirby Dach leads Blackhawks to 2-1 win in shootout vs. Devils


5 Takeaways: Kirby Dach leads Blackhawks to 2-1 win in shootout vs. Devils

The Blackhawks won 2-1 against the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on Friday. Here are five takeaways:

Top to bottom

The Hawks were looking to establish some momentum in Jersey following a big win Thursday in Boston. Jonathan Toews scored in overtime and Alex DeBrincat ended a 12-game goal drought to help the Hawks to a 4-3 OT win over the Bruins, ending the Blackhawks' 3-game losing streak in which they were outscored 16-5. 

Going from facing the first place team in the Atlantic division (second in the NHL) on Thursday to the last place team in the Metropolitan division (second to last in the league) on Friday proved to be tougher than imagined. 

Alex DeBrincat scored the lone regulation goal for Chicago and Kirby Dach, the No. 3 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, scored the final goal of the shootout and set up No. 1 pick Jack Hughes to get stopped by Corey Crawford for the 2-1 final score. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane also scored in the shootout for the Blackhawks.

Crow 250

Corey Crawford won his 250th NHL game on Friday. The two-time Stanley Cup champ is the 59th goalie in NHL history to reach the milestone and one of 13 active netminders to do so. The 34-year-old is the third goalie to reach 250 wins with the Blackhawks. 

Crawford saved 29 of 30 New Jersey shots ahead of the shootout. 

Cat on the prowl 

DeBrincat scored his second goal in two games after not lighting the lamp in his previous 12. This is a good sign for the forward, who is known to score in bunches.

Gilbert getting noticed

Dennis Gilbert skated in his second straight game with the Hawks with Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) missing both contents on the road trip. Gilbert had a solid game in Boston Thursday and improved his case Friday, putting a big hit on Hughes then having a decent showing after answering the bell with Wayne Simmonds.

Kane watch

Kane tied Andy Bathgate for 93rd on the NHL career points list (973), assisting on DeBrincat's second period goal.