People were worried when the Chicago Blackhawks starting goalie Corey Crawford went down with an injury. Thankfully, Crawford has made a speedy recovery. He returned to the lineup Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.
Despite the Sabres being near the bottom of the league in terms of standings, it took everything the Hawks had to beat them in overtime. Crawford was magnificent in both regulation and overtime. He is by far, the most important player on this Hawks team and he proved that once again on Sunday night against the Arizona Coyotes.
The first period was back and forth, but both teams failed to score. If you were looking for an action-packed Sunday night hockey game, you were pretty disappointed with this one. Much like the first period, the second was full of even play. The Coyotes did have a stretch where they went on a bit of a run, but could not beat Crawford.
Usually, the Hawks don’t have “must win” games in the month of December. However, Sunday night was just that. Too many times have the Hawks gave away games this season against inferior opponents. To get back in the playoff race, the Hawks needed to play a good third period against the Coyotes.
Things got off to a good start after Crawford made a huge save to keep things scoreless, Chicago native, Tommy Wingels scored his second goal in as many nights to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. It looked like the Hawks were going to escape with a victory until Anthony Duclair found the back of the net after a friendly rebound.
Tied at one, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov went to work. The result was Anisimov scoring the go-ahead goal that ended up being the game-winner. Not even two minutes later, Kane set up another goal, this time it was Nick Schmaltz who iced the game for the home team.
It was the Hawks second straight win, and boy did they need it. With the win, the Hawks moved to three games over .500 and put themselves in much better position in terms of playoff seeding.
- Corey Crawford is an animal. He hasn’t lost a game in a month and is the key to a lot of the Hawks success. Crazy that people wanted him benched a few years back.
- It seems like this team is slowly starting to figure things out. It’s going to take some time given the number of young players on this roster, but things seem to be heading in the right direction.
- How about Tommy Wingels? He has come up huge in the last two games. Hopefully, his hot streak will continue the rest of the month.
- Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers is another “must win” in my opinion. Taking six points from three bad hockey teams would be huge. I’d never thought I’d be saying that covering the Hawks, but here we are.
3. Tommy Wingels- 1 Goal
2. Patrick Kane- 2 Assists
1. Corey Crawford- 31 saves.