It’s not unusual for the Blackhawks to come out flat in the first period. It’s happened too many times to count this season. More often than not they break out of it before opponents can do any real damage.
The Washington Capitals did real damage.
The Caps scored three goals in the first period — two in 13 seconds — en route to a 6-0 victory against the Hawks.
The rest of the first period was marred by sloppy passing, poor puck possession and few shots on goal. Chicago looked as far from a first place team as you could get. Things never got any better, either.
The Hawks had a goal overturned early in the second period that could’ve given them momentum after going down 3-0 in the first, and mustered just a few chances after that. Every Chicago player finished with a negative plus/minus rating with both Trevor van Riemsdyk and Brian Campbell turning in -3 performances. Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 26 shots before getting pulled in third period for Scott Darling while Braden Holtby made 21 saves in the shutout.
Jay Beagle continued his dominance over the Hawks with two goals, and Nicklas Backstrom proved deadly on the top line with goal and an assist early on.
Perhaps the most damning stat is that the Capitals scored six goals without getting a single power play on the night.
It was a quick trip out east for the Hawks and they’ll be happy to get home just as soon as possible.
Six and a half minutes into the second period, it seemed like the Hawks were putting themselves in position for a comeback when Vincent Hinostroza finally beat Holtby off a rebound. It should’ve been Chicago’s first goal of the game. Instead the call was reversed after the NHL ruled that Marian Hossa interfered with Holtby on a Capitals challenge. The Hawks never had any momentum after that.
SCH 3 Stars
1. Jay Beagle, Capitals (2 goals)
2. Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Tom Wilson, Capitals (1 goal, 1 assist)
Play of the game
Alex Ovechkin flies down the left wing before firing a rocket of a pass to Backstrom for an easy goal.
The Hawks head back to Chicago for a Sunday night meeting with the Minnesota Wild in a battle of the top two teams in the Central Division.