The Blackhawks scored three first-period power-play goals, adding four more in the second and third frames on the way to a 7-5 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night at Gila River Arena. It was a great, high-scoring win for the Blackhawks, who had been snake-bitten in the two games prior to this.
The first period started went mostly Arizona's way, as the Blackhawks didn't get a shot on goal until more than five minutes into the period when they were on the power play, and ended the period with just five total, and only one at even strength. However, power play goals from Duncan Keith, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin throughout the period led the Blackhawks to a 3-2 lead at the first intermission.
The second period went entirely the Blackhawks' way as Arizona pulled goalie Anders Lindback in favor of backup Louis Domingue. One of the first shots Domingue saw in the period was a weak wrister about 40 feet out from Andrew Desjardins, but Domingue couldn't make the stop, and the Blackhawks lead was extended to 4-2. Later in the period, a good rush was capped off by a beautiful pass from Andrew Shaw to Patrick Kane, who had a wide open cage to put the puck in, and didn't miss. The Blackhawks took a 5-2 lead into the second intermission.
The third period saw a bit more back and forth play, with both teams generating some chances. The Blackhawks were trying to continue their offensive push in an effort to extend their lead, and the Coyotes were pushing hard to cut down the deficit. Desjardins added another goal on an unfortune play for Arizona, and Domingue made the original save, but the puck his dfenseman Nicklas Grossman and went into the net. A few minutes later, Shane Doan rocketed a power play shot past Corey Crawford for the third Arizona goal.
About six minutes later, Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy fired a shot off the post and in to cut the Chicago lead lead 6-4.
Again, this was an encouraging win for the Blackhawks against an Arizone team that has played pretty well for most of this season. It was great to see the offense come to life and notch so many goals after being goal-starved for a few games. Hopefully this is a sign of a changing trend for the Hawks going forward.
The Blackhawks next game is Thursday, as they'll close out the 2015 year with a divisional showdown against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. CT.
Power play flexes muscles
The Blackhawks power play has often been underwhelming and disappointing in the Joel Quenneville era, especailly given the incredible offensive prowess Q has often had at his control. This year has been a different story, as the Blackhawks have been in the top-10 power plays for most of the season, but recently it had been struggling, in part leading to the scoring struggles of the Hawks. Tonight, it came alive in a big way. Chicago had three power play opportunities in the first period, converting on all of them, and all in different ways. Keith's goal came as a one-timer on a rush, Anisimov's was a deflection, the product of strong net front presence, and Panarin's came on a slick shot from the high slot after some good passing in the offensive zone. Overall, the Blackhawks power play looked fantastic, and it was extremely encouraging to see them score so often and in so many ways.
The Goose is loose again
Chicago recalled defenseman Erik Gustafsson from Rockford on Monday, looking to add a strong skater and puck mover to the blue line, something they'd sorely lacked since trading Trevor Daley for old and slow Rob Scuderi. Goose had a good run during his short stint in Chicago earlier this year, and he continued that streak of good play tonight. He was very impressive in his 14:15 of play, and the Blackhawks looked a step quicker from the back due to his presence. It will be key for Goose to gain Q's trust and earn a regular spot in the lineup going forward to give the Blackhawks that good puck movement from the back, so tonight's strong performance was very encouraging.
Andrew Desjardins is the Road Runner
With two goals tonight, Andrew Desjardins extended his career goal total to 18. Of those 18 goals, five have come against the Coyotes. It's safe to say he likes to play them. Meep meep.
Adam Hess is a staff writer at Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter at @FeathersInDaHat.