BUFFALO, N.Y. – How do you sum up the Blackhawks’ victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon? Fifty-eight minutes of humdrum hockey punctuated by two remaining regulation minutes of insanity.
Yeah, there was overtime and the shootout, too, but the final two minutes were the sticking point as the Blackhawks tied the game on Patrick Kane’s 6-on-3 power-play goal en route to their 3-2 victory.
But sometimes you need a little late-game excitement to pep up an otherwise slow afternoon. Now before we head back for another game on Sunday, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ road victory on Saturday.
1. Kane’s reception. There were plenty of Blackhawks fans in the First Niagara Center but there were audible boos most of the time Kane had the puck. He said he didn’t mind them. At the end of the game he didn’t play like he minded them. Said Corey Crawford, “I mean, it is what it is. He gets that in some buildings. Don’t want to see that for a guy who’s from the area and he’s done so much for the game of hockey, U.S. hockey, but whatever. Fans try to do what they want to get on him, get him off his game. It’s good to see him score the tying goal.”
2. Dennis Rasmussen at it again. Rasmussen has had an eventful seven games with the Blackhawks, including Saturday’s game in which he scored his third goal. Coach Joel Quenneville said Rasmussen’s offensive output is a bit of a surprise but the Blackhawks will take it. They’ll also take how he’s scoring the goals: driving to the net. “I think that’s how you score in our league,” Quenneville said. “You have to be around the net, gotta be in tight.”
3. A shootout revisited. The beauty of 3-on-3, even if you don’t think it’s true hockey, is it’s cut down on shootouts. But after playing 3-on-3 on Saturday as 4-on-4 and 4-on-3 instead – you know, penalties – the Blackhawks had their first shootout of the season. It ended well for them, although it looked like the shooters were rusty. Crawford, however, said he wasn’t as much as he thought he’d be. “I’m just trying to get the same speed as the player and be patient,” he said. “First one was lucky; he threw it wide. It was a nice move there. The other ones, I was pretty patient on those.”
4. Phillip Danault is back. Danault, called up with Marcus Kruger (wrist) out for the next four months, looked good on the Blackhawks’ fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Ryan Garbutt. Quenneville liked that line overall and the game of Danault, who’s been Kruger-like since he’s gotten here. “I thought he was smart in faceoff areas, responsible, he had the puck a lot,” Quenneville said. “I thought that line was effective in a lot of ways. I liked what he brought.”
5. Blackhawks use 6-on-3 power play. Seriously: what the hell was that?!