With one of the worst power play units in the league, the Chicago Blackhawks torched the Ottawa Senators PK for four goals in six opportunities tonight. It propelled a blowout win and put Chicago in position for the second wild card spot.
Just as usual, things started off slow for the Blackhawks in the first period. From the stat sheet alone, it looked like the Hawks were playing well, putting 16 shots on goal, 18 minutes into the first period. But, they earned a grand total of zero scoring chances. ZERO SCORING CHANCES.
Throughout the period, the Hawks kept taking outside shots, and without any net front presence, leading to Craig Anderson racking up easy saves, often allowing the Senators to get back on offense.
However, with just 69 seconds left in the period, Richard Panik scored his sixth goal of the season, after he slapped teammate Michal Kempny‘s smothered shot past Senators goaltender Craig Anderson to put the Blackhawks up 1-0.
Spin. Shoot. Score.
— NHL (@NHL) January 10, 2018
The second period was a much more exciting frame with seven goals being scored. With five minutes gone in the second frame, the Hawks doubled their lead after a saucer pass from Patrick Kane deflected off Mike Hoffman, but still reached Patrick Sharp. Sharp then reached all the way behind him and fired a wrister that somehow beat Anderson, making it a 2-0 game.
The Blackhawks extended their lead on the power play after Nick Schmaltz backhanded a rebound off Jordan Oesterle‘s shot to put the Hawks up three. With this goal, Schmaltz’s eleventh of the season, he extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.
In very similar fashion to Nick Schmaltz’s goal, Jonathan Toews netted a rebound, once again, off a rebound from Jordan Oesterle’s slapshot to continue the onslaught, putting the Hawks up 4-0.
This is where the Senators started to make it interesting. After a goaltending change by the Senators where Mike Condon came in for Craig Anderson, Ottawa started to gain some momentum.
Following a long possession by the Senators where the Blackhawks defense kept getting bailed out by Anton Forsberg, with failed clearances and open looks by Ottawa, Mark Stone finally backhanded a rebound past Forsberg to put the Senators on the board.
Just three minutes later, Senators forward Derick Brassard made it a two-goal game after he deflected Mark Stone’s off-target attempt with his chest for his 12th goal of the season to make it a 4-2 game.
This period of hope was short-lived for the Senators, though. Just 54 seconds later, Nick Schmaltz roofed a forehand shot off Patrick Sharp’s shot on the powerplay, regaining the Hawks three-goal advantage.
— NHL (@NHL) January 10, 2018
Then, late in the second period, Jan Rutta one-timed a Patrick Kane pass past Condon on the power play to put the Blackhawks lead back at four. This goal marked Patrick Kane’s third assist of the period and the Hawks third power play goal of the night.
The third period was, once again, dominated by the Blackhawks, with the Hawks adding two more goals to rub salt on the Senators wounds.
With just over three minutes gone in the final frame, Jonathan Toews, from a sharp angle, somehow finished Vinnie Hinostroza‘s pass for his second tally of the game. Patrick Kane later capped the Hawks win with his fifth point of the contest and the Blackhawks’ fourth power play goal.
- Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch today, with the Blackhawks electing to take 27 year-old Czech defenseman Michal Kempny in his place. Kempny tallied one assist in tonight’s game.
- The Hawks presence in front of the net really allowed them to win this game. On Richard Panik’s goal, Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma were both screening Anderson, probably causing the puck to go in the net. Both Jonathan Toews’s and Nick Schmaltz’s goals came off of juicy rebounds given up by Craig Anderson. The Hawks need net front presence like this, especially on the power play, so that their shots aren’t just empty threats.
- For a team that was 29th in the league with the man advantage, Chicago’s special teams play was very encouraging today. The key to their success was their presence in front of the net, with players providing screens and cashing in on loose pucks.
- Nick Schmaltz scored two goals today (and was an inch away from a hat trick), allowing him to continue his four-game goal streak. It looks like he is really starting to feel comfortable on the second line, which is needed to facilitate Patrick Kane’s production.
- Jordan Oesterle has also been huge these past few games, tallying seven points in his last six contests with three goals and four assists during that span.
- Patrick Kane (1 goal, 4 assists) notched the first five-point night of his career.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Jonathan Toews- 2 G
Second Star: Nick Schmaltz- 2 G, 1 A
First Star: Patrick Kane- 1 G, 4 A