The Chicago Blackhawks entered their game with the Ottawa Senators in last place in the Central Division with a record of 20-15-6. They are 3-1-1 in their last five games, coming off a 4-1 victory over Edmonton on Sunday. The Hawks are entering unchartered waters Tuesday as Brent Seabrook was not in the lineup, a healthy scratch. The Starting lineup for the Hawks:
In the first period, the Chicago Blackhawks outshot the Ottawa Senators 17-8. The one that mattered came from the Blackhawks with 1:09 left in the first period. Richard Panik spun and shot a blocked shot past Senators goalie Craig Anderson to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. Panik and his fourth line mates continue to play well notching three shots on goal.
The first line led by Jonathan Toews put 6 shots on net and continued their recent stellar play putting constant offensive pressure on the Senators. The third line led by Patrick Sharp and Alex Debrincat also managed three shots on goal. They along with David Kampf managed to put consistent pressure on Anderson.
Surprisingly, the second line only managed one shot on goal, a shot by Patrick Kane on a powerplay. While outplaying the Senators, the Blackhawks did struggle at the dot winning a mere 32% of faceoffs.
The 2nd period began much the same as the first period ended- lots of Hawks pressure. The difference- lots of scoring! At 14:46, Patrick Sharp starts the scoring on a quick wrister to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. The goal is Patrick Sharp’s third goal in four games.
Shortly after Sharp’s goal, the Senators were called for slashing putting the Blackhawks on their second powerplay of the night. Patrick Sharp earned a role on the first unit of the powerplay- taking the first faceoff- a big step considering his scoring woes to begin the season. Within a minute, Nick Schmaltz scores on a Jordan Oesterle rebound giving the Hawks a 3-0 lead.
Nearly a minute after Schmaltz’ goal, Jonathan Toews puts back another Oesterle rebound to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead at 10:07. The Blackhawks looked to be clearly in command.
The Senators quickly bounce back with pressure of their own. Mark Stone puts one home for the Senators at 9:25 to cut the lead to 4-1. The game continues without incident until 5:32 when Jan Rutta committed an interference penalty. The Senators were unable to establish possession in the offensive zone or get a shot on goal. However, they quickly regroup and put their second puck in the net when Derick Brassard scores at 3:21 to make the score 4-2.
Less than 30 seconds later, Zack Smith is called for delay of game penalty putting the Senators a man down again. Nick Schmlatz collects another rebound for his second goal of the game at the 2:27 mark. The Blackhawks lead 5-2. 28 seconds later, Eric Karlsson is called for interference. The Blackhawks go back to the powerplay. At :52.7, Jan Rutta scores his fourth goal of the year to put the Blackhawks up 6-2.
While the Blackhawks did give up two goals, the Blackhawks basically dominated the second period. The Hawks continued to dominate in shots on goal leading the Senators 31-19. Where they reversed their fortune was on the faceoff. After the first, they only won 32% of the draws; after period two, they have taken the lead with 51% of the wins at the dot. The Blackhawks have set the tone leading into the third period.
The third period begins with a continued powerplay for the Ottawa Senators on an interference penalty against Richard Panik at the end of Period two. The Blackhawks easily kill the penalty and continue to put pressure on the Senators.
At the 16:36 mark, Captain Jonathan Toews puts another goal top shelf to give the Hawks a 7-2 lead. The goal is Toews’ second of the game, fourteenth of the season, and fifth in the past five games.
Through the seven goals scored by the Blackhawks tonight, Patrick Kane had four assists, but had not scored a goal. Well, at 9:59, Patrick “Showtime” Kane puts one past Condon for his first goal of the night and fifth point to give the Blackhawks an 8-2 lead. The goal is Kane’s 18th of the year. Including assists, Kane now has 45 points in 42 games. The five point night is also a record for point in one game for Kaner.
Following the Kane goal, Michal Kempny is called for high sticking putting the Senators back on the powerplay. The Blackhawks continue with a strong penalty kill only allowing two shots on goal. The rest of the period was a back and forth affair with a few opportunities, but no goals.
Final: Chicago Blackhawks 8 Ottawa Senators 2
The Chicago Blackhawks win 8-2. Anton Forsberg gets his second straight win with 25 stops tonight. The Blackhawks are now 4-1-1 in their last five games. The first line, with the addition of Vinnie Hinostroza, is now scoring consistently. Kane is back on track. The third line with Sharp and DeBrincat is putting up the numbers, and the defense is getting in on the scoring.
The Blackhawks are clearly getting back into Wildcard contention. They are in action back home tomorrow against the Minnesota Wild. It’s a pivotal Central Division matchup. With a win, the Blackhawks will move into possession of the final WildCard spot.
Note: The Wild game isn’t finished. If the Wild lose, the Blackhawks move into the last WildCard spot tonight.