Blackhawks Recap and Analysis

Blackhawks Edge the Rangers 2-1, Darling Shines for the Hawks

NEW YORK- The Blackhawks kicked off their three game road trip this week with a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on the strength of 33 saves by goalie Scott Darling.

The Chicago Blackhawks visited the New York Rangers on Tuesday evening, the first stop on a three game road trip this week. Scott Darling stayed hot on the evening as he stopped 33 of 34 shots on the night.

Entering the game, Rangers goalie and former Blackhawk Antti Raanta had allowed just one goal in his previous three starts. That was until Blackhawks defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk scored in the second period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead over the Rangers. The goal ended Raanta’s scoreless streak, which last for 176 minutes of ice time over the span of multiple games.

Just two minutes and fifty-seven seconds later, Jesper Fast scored for the Rangers to even the score up at one-a-piece. That would be the only goal that the Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling would allow on the evening as he stopped 33 of 34 shots on goal.

With 1:09 to play in the second period Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov found the back of the goal, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead, on what would turn out to be the eventual game winning goal at Madison Square Garden. The goal was the 13th of the season for Anisimov who also scored in the Hawks win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night at the United Center.  Anisimov also recorded an assist on the Trevor Van Riemsdyk goal early in the second period.

The Blackhawks improved to 19-8-4 (42) with the victory over the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers. The Blackhawks are 3-0-1 in their last four games and 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. Scott Darling was the first star of the game for the second game in a row, and dazzled again for the Blackhawks during his fill-in for regular starting goalie Corey Crawford who is recovering from an appendix removal procedure.

Darling has allowed just two goals, while stopping 56 shots on goal over the span of the last two games against the Stars and the Rangers. Darling has dazzled over the last four games, posting a record of 3-0-1. Over that same span Darling has stopped 112 of 115 shots on goal, including a shutout versus the Arizona Coyotes last week.

The hot performance has helped the Blackhawks stay on track during Crawford’s absence, but it may come back to haunt the team in the long-run. While Darling’s stock as an everyday starting goalie in the NHL continues to rise, the chances of the Lemont, IL native sticking around with his hometown team are growing increasingly slim.

Captain Jonathan Toews made his return to the ice tonight after missing the last nine games due to injury, although Toews was quiet in the box score on Tuesday evening.

The Blackhawks will stay in New York and take on the New York Islanders on Thursday evening before heading to St. Louis to close out the brief road trip this weekend. The Islanders are currently 11-12-5 on the season. Puck drop will be 6:00 PM (CT) and you can catch all of the action on CSN and 720AM radio on Thursday evening.

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