I remember all the news after Corey Crawford was assigned to injured reserve, all the outlets were talking about how the Blackhawks are no longer contending for the playoffs after their star of the season went down with an injury. Now, the Hawks still need to piece together a strong second half of the season to reach the playoffs, but I feel much more confident with the likes of Jeff Glass protecting the net.
Late in the first frame, after drawing a delayed penalty, the Hawks dodged a major bullet when Anthony Duclair‘s pass went astray and was gliding towards an empty net. Luckily, Gustav Forsling raced all the way back to save the puck, just about a foot in front of the net to keep the game scoreless.
With just under five minutes gone in the second period, the Blackhawks finally drew first blood, this time off a tip-in by David Kampf. After a continued offensive zone possession, highlighted by a string of over four passes, David Kampf tipped a Connor Murphy wrister from the point for his first ever NHL, with Connor Murphy (7) and Alex DeBrincat (14) tallying assists.
While, the Hawks offense and defense was firing on all cylinders, Blackhawks’ goaltender Jeff Glass stepped up when necessary. He stopped Jets winger Kyle Connor right in his track with a magnificent right pad save to preserve the Blackhawks lead.
Then, with just 3:35 left in the period, the Hawks extended their lead after defenseman Jan Rutta skated all the way from the blue line to the bottom of the right circle, somehow sneaking the puck in past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, making it a 2-0 game. This goal marked the first point for recent acquire Anthony Duclair, a primary assist on Rutta’s goal.
After a second period controlled by the Blackhawks, the Jets really turned things around with a dominant third period.
Patrick Laine made things interesting late with a little over three minutes left in the contest, with an absolute rocket above the glove of Jeff Glass, ending his shutout and cutting the Hawks lead in half.
The last two minutes, with an empty net by the Winnipeg Jets, arguably had more action than the first 58 minutes of the match. With a little over a minute left, Nikolaj Ehlers dished a pass to Patrick Laine, who one-timed a laser, which Jeff Glass, using all 6-feet-3-inches of him, managed to stop.
A few seconds later, Patrick Kane nearly sealed the victory for the Hawks after his shot from the red line hit the outside of the post, keeping the Jets alive in the game. The Jets almost capitalized on this missed opportunity after they hit the post in the dying seconds of the game. The Blackhawks held onto their lead and won 2-1.
- Man, Jeff Glass was fantastic today. After seeing his performance, I started having flashbacks of 2017-2018 Corey Crawford. He made many fantastic saves, including a pad save on Kyle Connor’s breakaway opportunity. Then, in the closing moments of the battle, he went post-to-post and extended his pad to deny Patrick Laine’s one-timer. Earlier, I said the Blackhawks were in deep trouble with Corey Crawford on IR, but I feel more comfortable now with the magnificent goaltending of the backups, especially 32-year-old Jeff Glass.
- A recent acquisition from the Phoenix Coyotes, Anthony Duclair flashed the speed and skill that reminded me (slightly) of Artemi Panarin. He was a plus two on the ice today, and even tallied an assist. But what really amazed me was his ability to accelerate down the ice and to the front of the net. In the hopeless environment of Phoenix, Duclair wasn’t surrounded by the right people to maximize his potential. With all the offensive weapons in Chicago, I expect him to thrive in the environment.
Third Star: Connor Murphy- 1 G
Second Star: David Kampf- 1 G, 1 A
First Star: Jeff Glass- 31 Saves, 1GA