NEW YORK – The Blackhawks knew there were going to be growing pains in the early going, a side effect of their summer roster turnover.
In Game 2 they showed some progress in that category. And considering there were still some glitches and some bad turnovers, the Blackhawks will take the two points.
Artem Anisimov scored his first goal in a Blackhawks uniform and Patrick Kane scored two, including the power-play winner in overtime, as the Blackhawks beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Friday night.
It was the Blackhawks’ first victory and their first regular-season foray into 3-on-3. They didn’t spend much time with the latter, however, with Nick Leddy hooking a surging Marian Hossa to put the Blackhawks on the power play. Just 24 seconds into that advantage, Kane scored.
The Blackhawks expected strong and fast Islanders, especially since the team was starting their first season at its new home, Barclays Arena. For long periods the Islanders seemed to control play. The Blackhawks, however, never trailed in this game.
“I think it was kind of similar to last game: we had some good spurts and some times where the other team really took it to us. But every team is good now and every team’s going to get some time with the puck and some [scoring] chances,” Duncan Keith said. “We knew they were going to come out hard to start their first season ever in this. I thought we did a pretty good job of weathering the storm there.”
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Anisimov put the Blackhawks up 1-0 late in the first. He grabbed Brock Nelson’s wayward pass, broke ahead and backhanded a shot past Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss.
“Big goal for us. First penalty we had to kill all year and we score short-handed,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You score short-handed goals, you usually have a good night. It turned out to be a big factor in the game.”
After John Tavares tied it early in the second, Kane scored his first of the season to put the Blackhawks ahead again, 2-1, late in the period. Kane heard plenty of boos from the Barclays Center crowd during Friday’s game.
“It’s nothing I’m too worried about,” he said. “You don’t expect them to be super nice when you’re going into a road building.”
Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 36 shots for the Blackhawks. His work was critical, considering the Blackhawks had several awful turnovers that became good Islanders scoring opportunities.
The Blackhawks rolled out Keith, Kane and Jonathan Toews to start 3-on-3 in overtime but soon got that successful power play. It still wasn’t the prettiest game the Blackhawks have played in this early regular season. But they found a way to get two points, which is something they’ve been good at doing in recent history, even in their not-so-great games.
“That was important,” Crawford said. “This is a quick Islanders team; lot of skill and speed. We knew it was going to be a tough game, their first one at home. We did what we wanted on the road. It was definitely nice to come back in overtime and win it on the power play. It gives us confidence going back home.”