Artem Anisimov scored his first goal in a Hawks uniform and the power play capitalized in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks topped the New York Islanders, 3-2, for their first win of the 2015-16 season. Patrick Kane added two goals in the victory, including the game-winner in overtime after an Islanders penalty gave Chicago a 4-on-3 man advantage:
Coming off a season-opening loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks responded by grinding out the victory Friday. The effort wasn't always impressive, particularly in the first 30-plus minutes as the team struggled to sustain possession in the offensive zone. However, some clutch plays and stellar goaltending were enough to get back to .500.
Anisimov scored the opening goal of the game with a shorthanded, unassisted, breakaway shot off the backhand to beat Thomas Greiss. We knew that Anisimov could play a sweet two-way game after coming over from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Brandon Saad trade, but this was our first chance to see all of that skill come together in a single amazing play:
Anisimov goal pic.twitter.com/lczsGVy7Xr— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 10, 2015
The Islanders followed that with a nice goal by John Tavares to tie the game, then Kane put the Hawks back up late in the second period with his score. Early in the third period, Marek Zidlicky knotted the game up again, 2-2, leading to the late pressure by both teams. Neither was able to score before overtime, where the first 3-on-3 OT for the Hawks turned into a 4-on-3 power play and the game-winner.
Now the two teams will head to Chicago to meet again Saturday night at the United Center.
ONE, TWO, TREE THOUGHTS
Shallow defense is shallow
We already knew that the Blackhawks' defense was top heavy, but nothing about the first two games alleviated those concerns about the bottom pairing. Beyond the big three of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, it's still hard to gauge exactly what Chicago has. Viktor Svedberg certainly didn't impress Friday night, making a number of questionable plays in his own end two days after we saw the same from David Rundblad. At least the combination of Trevor Daley and Trevor van Riemsdyk looked a tad better after being overwhelmed in the opener against the Rangers. This is going to be a defining narrative for Chicago this season, though. Either they'll find some more depth on defense, or they're going to grind Keith and company to a pulp.
3-on-3 will be kind to the Hawks
Chicago hasn't always thrived in overtime or the shootout in recent years, but the new development of 3-on-3 overtime seems like a positive one for the Hawks. The team's possession-focused style and top-heavy talent make for a potent combination, and we saw that first-hand Friday. A stellar pass opened up Marian Hossa for the breakaway, which led to the power play. Once on a 4-on-3 advantage, the Hawks quickly capitalized after establishing possession in the zone. The new rules may take some getting used to, but generally speaking, it's going to be a lot of fun watching the Hawks battle teams in 3-on-3 matchups.
There will be lots of Kane-related chants on the road
The first road game for Kane, who's still the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation in New York, gave an idea of how things will go for him away from Chicago. Fans at the United Center have largely welcomed Kane back into the fold positively, but Isles fans at the Barclays Center repeatedly chanted "No Means No" whenever Kane handled the puck or was mentioned over the PA system. Regardless of what you think about the chants themselves, it's clear that Kane will hear these kinds of things when he plays on the road. The Hawks may be trying their best to ignore the situation but you can be sure that opposing fans will offer reminders whenever they can.