Scott Darling got his first win in his NHL debut and Patrick Kane registered his 500th career point as the Blackhawks put up a solid effort to get back in the win column, beating Illinois native Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators, 2-1.
The Hawks put pressure on Anderson in the first, peppering him with 17 shots, but Anderson stopped them all. Darling had a strong start in his debut, making some big saves and stopping 12 shots in the first.
In the second, Chicago actually scored a goal! After seven games without a second period goal, it only took the Blackhawks 21 seconds in this one to get on the board. Anderson lost his net and Jonathan Toews was able to get a quick wrap-around in. Patrick Kane’s assist on the goal was his 500th career NHL point, because it’s only fitting Kane’s 500th point would come on a Toews goal.
The Senators tied the game up on a bizarre goal in the second. On a Chicago power play, the puck deflected off of the referee, past Brad Richards and down the ice. Richards just stopped playing and Ottawa ended up with a 3-on-1, and Milan Michalek roofed the puck up and in past Darling, who couldn't really do much on the play.
Now I've been of the opinion that Richards has had some rough moments in his first few games with Chicago, but it's early in the season and he's still getting used to a new system, new teammates, new coaching. But this just cannot happen. Yes, Richards has lost a step and isn't as fast as he used to be, but you can't just stand there. You still have to show some effort! That's unacceptable.
Thankfully, Chicago got the lead again later in the period, this time on the power play! The Blackhawks special teams weren’t having the greatest night up to this point, despite many chances. But good cycling, crisp passing, a nice screen in front and a blast by Brent Seabrook put the Hawks up by one, and that's all they needed.
Darling looked strong and steady in net during his NHL debut, stopping all 16 shots he faced in the third period and a total of 32 shots to earn his first career win. The only goal he gave up was on a weird play in the second that he almost got a piece of and couldn't really do much about.
The Blackhawks will host the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. It is unclear whether Corey Crawford will be healthy enough to be back in net, or if Darling or Antti Raanta will get the start instead.