Despite a three-goal barrage in a four-minute span late in the first period, the Chicago Blackhawks would surrender four straight to the New Jersey Devils in a 7-5 loss at the United Center on Sunday night. Miles Wood earned his first career hat trick for the Devils, Corey Crawford was relieved of his duties after the second period, and what was a 4-1 lead ultimately disappeared as Chicago returned home to face the first place Devils.
In a surprising change of pace, the Hawks (8-8-2) jumped out to an early lead after Artem Anisimov redirected a Jan Rutta slap shot from the blue line to give Chicago the lead 41 seconds into the game. Even though Wood would tally a goal a few minutes later, the Hawks grabbed three consecutive goals later in the first period.
Alex DeBrincat blasted home a one-timer on a picture perfect feed from Nick Schmaltz (we wrote about it, the play was pretty damn sweet), Jan Rutta launched ANOTHER slap shot from the blue line that found the back of the net, and Tanner Kero flipped a backhand shot past Keith Kinkaid while the puck was bouncing to boost the Chicago lead to 4-1.
Enter tonight’s villain, Wood. After the puck was send behind the net, Wood chipped a one-timer past Corey Crawford to tally his second goal of the evening. Chicago led 4-2 at the end of the first period.
After a relatively promising appearance in the first, Chicago came out flat in the second. New Jersey (11-4-2) racked up four consecutive goals, starting with an Andy Greene goal on a splendid pass from Stefan Noesen. Then Nico Hischier fired home an unassisted goal after Duncan Keith fell down during a Devils’ rush.
After the game-tying goal, Taylor Hall stuffed home a shot while crashing into Crawford to earn his 400th point in his NHL career. Having grabbed the lead, New Jersey kept the pressure up and added to their lead after Brian Gibbons snapped home a wrist shot past Crawford’s blocker to open up a 6-4 lead. With the momentum sitting squarely on New Jersey’s shoulders, Patrick Kane fought off a bouncing puck and scored a backhand goal with two seconds left in the period to bring Chicago within a goal. Rutta (again) launched a slap shot that missed wide of the goal-mouth, but bounced off the end boards RIGHT to Kaner who scored his sixth goal of the season. Not only did Kane pull the Hawks within a goal, but he provided some much needed momentum heading into the second intermission.
Enter tonight’s villain, Wood (again).
Following a slashing penalty called on Richard Panik and a change in goal to Anton Forsberg, Wood scored his third goal of the evening to notch his first career NHL hat-trick. The goal came after a brutal sequence where the Devils brought a wave of pressure to Anton Forsberg during their first shift of the period. Chicago would not find their groove for the rest of the period, ultimately falling to New Jersey 7-5 to drop back to .500 on the season.
CHI GOALS: Anisimov (6), DeBrincat (6), Rutta (3), Kero (1), Kane (6)
NJ GOALS: Wood 3 (4, 5, 6), Greene (2), Hischier (3), Hall (6), Gibbons (8)
Jan Rutta should “park and fire” all game
Since the very first goal of the evening, Jan Rutta had his effect on the Blackhawks’ offense. Firing shots from the blue line, Rutta is one of the stronger “offensive defensemen” in the Chicago lineup. We’re used to seeing the defensemen putting pucks on net, but witnessing the effectiveness of Rutta’s impact on the offense is one more reason why he belongs on the first line. Let the man shoot!
Corey Crawford had a rough night, and that’s okay
Now, there was not a lot of help from Chicago’s defense tonight that would make Crawford’s job any easier. But there will be nights (like tonight) where Corey will not be able to live up to the 94% save percentage that he has established so far this season. This is where the Hawks need to be better defensively at avoiding sustained rushes from the opposing offense, because your stud goaltender in Corey Crawford will not be able to carry you all season.
Lots of scoring is fun
Tallying twelve goals in a game is fun...especially when your favorite team rattles off three straight goals in a four minute span. Perhaps this is closer to what we were expecting from Chicago’s offense after tallying 20+ goals in their first four games of the season, and hopefully the surge in goals continues as the Hawks face the Rangers on Wednesday night.
- Miles Wood (NJ) — First career NHL hat trick
- Jan Rutta (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Taylor Hall (NJ) — 400th career point