Artem Anisimov did it again. His power play goal in the third period was the game-winner as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1, clearly cementing their status as the superior franchise to win three Stanley Cups in the last decade.
Gustav Forsling got the Hawks on the board with a power play goal in the first period, and the first intermission arrived with Chicago ahead 1-0. No goals were scored in the second period, although heart rates around Chicago skyrocketed when Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin collided with Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford, forcing him out of the game temporarily.
Crawford would return and finish the game, though. Connor Murphy also temporarily exited the game after a puck appeared to hit him in a particularly sensitive part of the male anatomy.
Matt Hunwick tied the game for Pittsburgh with a shorthanded goal in the third period. But Anisimov responded just 20 seconds later, pulling a puck from behind the net and roofing it over a sprawling Matt Murray to put the Hawks ahead for good.
Pittsburgh thought it had tied the game again when Jake Guentzel fired one past Crawford later in the third. But replays showed that Olli Maatta provided a textbook definition of goaltender interference by colliding with Crawford prior to the shot, and Joel Quenneville’s challenge to overturn the goal was successful. Pittsburgh would send a flurry of pucks towards Crawford in the final minutes, but the Best Goalie in the Western Conference™ stood tall yet again to give the Hawks their 10th win of the season.
CHI GOALS: Forsling (2), Anisimov (10)
PIT GOALS: Hunwick (2)
The Blackhawks power play is ... good now?
Power play tallies from Forsling and Anisimov mean the Hawks have now scored five power play goals in the last three games, following a stretch of eight games that saw the Blackhawks light the lamp just twice with the man advantage. Although it surrendered a shorthanded goal against Pittsburgh (on a shot Crawford is probably going to stop nine times out of ten), the better results from the power play are another reason to believe the Hawks are breaking out of their early-season funk.
The penalty kill remains excellent
With Pittsburgh unable to score on its three power plays on Saturday night, Chicago has killed off 20 of its last 22 penalties (91 percent), with both of those goals coming in the debacle of a game against New Jersey. The Chicago PK entered tonight’s game ranked eighth in the NHL. When the Hawks have been at their best this decade, they’ve been excellent on the penalty kill. Quite the encouraging sign, this.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Now the Hawks have consecutive victories over the red-hot New York Rangers and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Up next is the white-hot Tampa Bay Lightning, with games against the Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, and Dallas Stars on the agenda before November ends. About that:
It would be a very Blackhawks thing to lose a bunch of games to teams they should beat and then win 6 in a row against the league's best.— Dave Melton (@_DaveMelton) November 16, 2017
- Corey Crawford (CHI) — 37 saves on 38 shots faced
- Artem Anisimov (CHI) — 1 goal, 4 SOG
- Matt Hunwick (PIT) — 1 goal