Coming off of one of the best single period performances of the season, when they dropped four on San Jose in the third period, you had to wonder if the momentum would carry over for the Chicago Blackhawks heading into their Tuesday night tilt with the New York Islanders. Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and co. gave us a definitive answer, as they rolled past the Isles by a 4-1 count.
It was really nice to see the Hawks get off to a fast start in this one. While neither goal would be classified as anything other than "soft", Jonathan Toews was still able to pot a pair of pucks to give the Hawks an early 2-0 edge. The shot total seemed more lopsided than it actually was, as the Hawks carried a 16-10 advantage into the second period, edging the Isles in overall shot attempts by a 25-16 figure. That would be the only period in which the Hawks would carry an edge in shots.
Of course, this one, undoubtedly, would have been a cleaner victory had it not been for the incredible stupidity of Andrew Shaw. After taking a couple of cross checks from Brock Nelson, Shaw decided that a headbutt would be his most appropriate means of retaliation, earning a game misconduct and sending the Blackhawks on a five minute penalty kill. We'll see if that urges Joel Quenneville to sit him or reduce his role in any way, but smart money points to 'no'.
Nonetheless, the Hawks were able to stave off any attempt from the Islanders to get back into this one, even with their backs up against the wall. In one of the better kills you will see from any team, at any point this season, the Hawks were able to keep New York off the board with the extended man advantage. Some fantastic defense and key saves from Corey Crawford allowed the Hawks to maintain an edge.
In keeping their lead, the Hawks were able to add to it shortly thereafter. Marian Hossa scored off of an assist from Jonathan Toews, before doing so again off of a helper from the Captain in the first minute of the third period. Hossa finished with the pair of goals, while Toews had his best game in quite some time, from a statistical standpoint, in finishing with four points.
The Islanders were able to get on the board late in this one, but it didn't make a difference. The Hawks were able to cash in on their opportunities and Corey Crawford was spectacular once again, in stopping 38 of 39 shots from the collective sticks of the Islanders. That's three wins in a row for this team, whose stock is definitely pointing up right now, even without Patrick Kane.
- The Red Wedding Line is back. Oh man, are they back. Eight points combined for the trio of Toews, Hossa, and Patrick Sharp.
- Teuvo Teravainen played up over 15 minutes on the night.
- Antoine Vermette didn't make his way out on that penalty kill in the second period. Kris Versteeg and Andrew Desjardins both did. Vermette was a key penalty killer for Arizona. Why not throw him on?
- Andrew Shaw is an idiot.
Onto the stars!
Three Stars of the Game
3. Marian Hossa
Fourteen times in his career Marian Hossa has hit the 20-goal mark. His pair on Tuesday gets him up to 21 on the season. Those goals have come somewhat quietly, but he continues to do all of the things that make Marian Hossa great. He was a major part of that key penalty kill stemming from the Shaw headbutt in the second period.
2. Corey Crawford
Craw just continues to roll in the crease as he has for the last several weeks. The Islanders put major pressure on the Hawks after Hossa notched that third goal for the Hawks, and Crawford stood tall keeping the Islanders out on all but one of their multitude of shots over the final two periods. If this is the playoff goaltender they're going to get, the Hawks are in fantastic shape.
1. Jonathan Toews
There were some questions about Jonathan Toews and whether or not he was completely healthy after some quiet performances from the Captain. But he broke out in the biggest of ways, and perhaps Tuesday night's tilt is the spark he needs to get him going down the stretch. He had a pair of first period goals and added a couple of dimes on goals from Marian Hossa. Oh yeah, he also won 78 percent of his faceoffs
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd..