By Brad Vandenberk
Another somber Sunday morning for the Chicago Blackhawks and the hockey world. Steve Montador, once a part of the Hawks organization, was found dead at his home at the age of 35. This would be the second untimely death for the Blackhawks family in months.
The Hawks would rise up to the occasion once again, though, winning one for Stevie in a shootout 2-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Patrick Sharp took the winning shot with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane up to their old tricks, pulling some sweet moves in the shootout to take their second win in a row.
Corey Crawford has no doubt returned back to his form before his injury, stopping 37 of 38 Penguins shots. He even made a beautiful right pad save late in the second period. Marc Andre Fleury was sharp for the Penguins and showed frustration after letting Sharp’s winning snipe in.
Michal Rozsival returned to the lineup after missing one game with an upper body injury. Kyle Cumiskey along with Ryan Hartman would be back for their second straight game. This spelt bad news for David Rundblad who took this morning off. Ben Smith was back in just after the warm ups meaning Dan Carcillo was also sitting for this one.
With the early start, both teams looked like they just rolled out of bed and heading to the arena. There was a multiple of icings for both teams to get this started. Marian Hossa was all over Sidney Crosby covering him for what seems to be the whole game. Scoring chances were available on both sides with both goalies on their game. Rozsival fails to keep a puck in the zone. Blake Comeau and Patric Hornqvist break in on a 2 on 1 the other way and Crawford makes the save on the Comeau shot. Sharp tries to mix it up after a Fleury save and the Penguins will have none of it. Comeau and Hornqvist get another 2 on 1 opportunity, this time Seabrook comes across to break up the pass across. Bryan Bickell begins to throw his weight around hitting Robert Bortuzzo. Rozsival tosses Hornqvist in the corner. Kane gets knocked down trying to enter the zone and this contest gets fiery. Andrew Shaw and Kris Versteeg break in on a 2 on 1 with 4 seconds left in the period but Shaw’s pass attempt is stopped by Kris Letang’s skate sending the teams to the dressing room tied at zero with the Penguins leading the Hawks 15-8 in shots on net.
Rozsival continues to up end the stars of the Penguins with Evgeni Malkin taking it this time. Shaw gets a point blank chance off a Rob Scuderi giveaway, but Fleury flashes the leather. Captain serious wins a draw in the offensive zone and Brandon Saad gets it over to Niklas Hjalmarsson who fires it past a screened Fleury igniting the lunchtime crowd at the UC 1-0.
The Penguins come right back at Crawford trying to tie this right away. Crawford makes a ridiculous save with the right pad after a scramble in front of his crease. David Perron takes a stab at Crawford after the whistle and the Hawks take exception starting a raucous. Kane takes his 3rd penalty of the year hooking Perron. Steve Downie goes after Kane which again creates a scrum. Hossa and Toews and Ben Smith all get shorthanded chances. Brandon Sutter gives the Hawks new look power play a chance hooking Kane. During the man advantage Sharp rips one off the post. Toews then gets stood up by Comeau and at this stage both teams are finally awake for this one. As the period comes to an end, Crosby gets called for tripping, but it looks like Johnny Oduya took a dive. After the refs convene, they pull Crosby out of the box and no penalty is handed out. The period ends with the Hawks still being outshot 25-20.
Just 1:16 into the 3rd period Kane and Bortuzzo get their light sabres out and both head to the box for slashing, enter some 4 on 4 hockey. As the penalties expire, Nick Spaling puts home a Beau Bennett rebound tying the game at 1. Brent Seabrook is the next penalized victim for cross checking Hornqvist. These teams don’t like each other. Crawford stands tall and helps kills the penalty. Fleury loses his catcher behind the net and the play continues. He still tries to keep his form willing to stop a puck with his bare hand. Crosby heads to the penalty box this time for sure as he trips captain serious. The Hawks get a lot of zone time but can’t break the tie. Kane again gets slashed, slashed and cross checked by Letang and no call is made. An extra period is needed to settle this one as we head to overtime.
Kane and Toews try to end this one early breaking in on a 2 on 1 but Fleury stays sharp. Hossa gets dumped in the corner and again no call, but makes sense in overtime. Crawford makes a great save on Perron. As the OT period is about to expire Hossa puts a shot on that hits the side of the net and were heading to a shootout.
Perron – Goes backhand raising it over Crawford’s blocker – Goal
Toews – wants to go backhand but waits until Fleury opens up his five whole and slides it through – Goal
Crosby – puts a shot on Crawford and the puck hops up over his shoulder and trickles in – Goal
Kane – (watch the highlights) – Goal
Letang – tries to fire over Crawford but he makes the glove save – No Goal
Sharp – snipes over Fleury’s glove winning it for the home team 2-1.
-Penguins outshot Hawks 37-32
-Both teams go 0/2 on the power play
-Duncan Keith led all Hawks in TOI with 28:10, next Hawk was Seabrook 23:45, Hartman 7:35 and Cumiskey 10:25.
-Toews was 56% in the face off dot. Richards 55%, Shaw 45% and Kruger 46%.
-Kane did not record a point in this game keeping him at 63 points maintaining his 3 point lead.
-Hawks are now 2-0-2 on their current home stand with the Redwings from Detroit visiting on Wednesday.
Saad Toews Hossa Oduya Hjalmarsson
Versteeg Richards Kane Keith Rozsival
Bickell Shaw Hartman Cumiskey Seabrook
Sharp Kruger Smith