By Brad Vandenberk
Patrick Sharp returned to the lineup after missing 14 games on Tuesday as the Chicago Blackhawks hit the road, beginning in New Jersey. The Devils arrived home late in the morning from their 2-1 win in Carolina the previous night. Keith Kinkaid made his NHL debut for the Devils and keep the Hawks at bay. Kinkaid stopped 37 of 39 shots the Hawks through at him, but he wasn’t able to survive the shootout. Chicago wins their seventh straight game with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scoring in the shootout. Scott Darling stops both Devil attempts winning his fourth game of the year.
Patrick Sharp debuted with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell adding an assist. His latest knee injury seemed to be on the right track of healing as he used his speed a few times during the game. Klas Dahlbeck saw action for his second time this season. David Rundblad and Corey Crawford were the scratches for this game.
Just as a regular eastern versus western conference battle would start, nice and slow. Although Jonathan Toews line was creating early chances testing the rookie net minder. Darling was ready for the Devils making some saves in close including a re direct just reaching his pad across the crease to keep it out. Klas Dahlbeck walks in a puts a shot high on Kinkaid who fends off the shot with his shoulder. Toews takes the first penalty of the game getting his stick in Jon Merrill’s hands heading to the box for hooking. Darling sees the puck well and the Hawks kill the penalty. Brent Seabrook walks the bench after blocking a shot. Shaw tries to grab a puck in the neutral zone and Jordan Tootoo stripes it from him and beats Darling 1-0. The period ends with the Hawks being outshot 10-9.
The pace quickens to open the middle frame. Darling continues to see the puck and make saves. Kane breaks in off the wing, but Kinkaid makes the glove save. This kid is looking pose and calm for the Devils early. He does let one slip past him but Tootoo kicks it off the goal line. At the 9:05 mark, Bickell, Shaw and Sharp break in on a 3 on 1. Bickell elects to keep the puck and beats Kinkaid glove side 1-1. Just after the goal Dan Carcillo gets a stick in the face and Jacob Josefson heads to the box for four minutes. The Hawks get ample chances on the power play but Kinkaid keeps the game knotted at 1. The Hawks regain the shot lead 26-17.
Michael Ryder finds himself wide open in front of the net to open the period, but puts the puck wide. Sharp gets one of his patented break away’s and is stoned by Kinkaid. Stephen Gionta bats a puck out of the air which Darling has trouble locating and the Devils take the lead with 17:29 left to play 2-1. Sharp continues to be around the net making his presence felt. Scary moment when Toews tries to catch a puck using his face and heads to the room for repairs, he did return. Kane loses a puck and Martin Havlat streaks in and hits the post on a backhand keeping the hopes high for the Hawks. With just 3 minutes left and the Hawks pressing, Seabrook wins a board battle allowing Toews to take it toward the net. He slides it over to Hossa who shots on Kinkaid. Duncan Keith buries the rebound in a wide open cage, tying the game at 2 sending the game to overtime.
Jaromir Jagr makes a play to himself because he’s Jagr but Darling makes the save. Jagr hooks Kane who was wide open in the slot. The Hawks can’t finish the game off in overtime on the 4 on 3 man advantage, so it’s off to a shootout.
Havlat – skates in a Darling makes the glove save.
Toews – waits for Kinkaid to commit and beats him with a shot past his pad.
Jagr – tries to go five whole but Darling shuts the door.
Kane- slows down and with a flick of the wrists beats Kinkaid low blocker winning the shootout.
- Hawks outshot the Devils 39-24
- Hawks go 0/3 on the power play with the Devils going 0/1.
- Keith led all Hawks with 30:36 of TOI, Seabrook was next with 25:11. Dahlbeck only saw 9:54.
- Toews was 38% in the faceoff dot, Richards 54%, Shaw 70% and Kruger 20%.
- Jeremy Morin was send down to Rockford on a conditioning stint to avoid the waiver wire. Joakim Nordstrom was also reassigned to Rockford. With Sharp being activated of LTIR someone had to head back.
- Hawks continue their 3 game road trip on Thursday in Boston ending Saturday playing their old friend Nick Leddy on Long Island.
Saad Toews Hossa Keith Seabrook
Versteeg Richards Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Bickell Shaw Sharp Dahlbeck Rozsival
Carcillo Kruger Smith