In what many people labeled as “the biggest game of the season so far,” the Chicago Blackhawks leave the Land of 1,000 Lakes victorious after Jonathan Toews scored the overtime winner for a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
To say this hockey game was entertaining would be a severe understatement. There were seven goals, 6 minutes and 10 seconds of review time, five points combined between Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik, four periods of hockey, three assists from Duncan Keith, two points awarded to the Blackhawks for the win, and one heck of a game.
Here’s how it happened.
Aside from winning the opening faceoff, the Blackhawks (33-17-5) did not maintain possession of the puck much throughout the opening few minutes. Minnesota (35-12-6) gave Corey Crawford a few good shots early on, and were able to set-up their offense deep in the Hawks’ defensive zone. After a wonderful display of goaltending by Crawford, the Hawks took advantage of a Wild turnover and rushed the offensive zone. Vinnie Hinostroza found Ryan Hartman racing up the middle of the ice, and Hartman burried a one-timer to put the Hawks ahead early. The goal marked Hartman’s third goal in as many games, and provided some early momentum for Chicago. The Hawks would take the one goal lead into the locker room.
Chicago picked up right where they left off in the first period. Toews flashed a few nifty moves to create some great scoring chances, and his efforts would finally be rewarded as he connected with Nick Schmaltz on a one-timer that boosted the Hawks lead to 2-0.
From there, Minnesota grabbed momentum in a hurry - 37 seconds to be exact.
After the opening five minutes of the period, Minnesota tallied two goals on a total of thirty one shot attempts and nineteen shots on goal. The second of those two goals was reviewed for 6:10 after Chicago challenged that Minnesota was offside. The review resulted with the goal standing after the video review was deemed “inconclusive.” Here’s a slow motion replay of the call, we’ll let you determine if the play was offside:
This was “inconclusive" pic.twitter.com/058KFMp8ro— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 9, 2017
Following the goal standing, Crawford continued to be peppered as Minnesota kept their foot on the gas. Crawford stood tall, and kept the game tied until the 2:35 mark. The line of Schmaltz-Toews-Panik struck again as Panik found paydirt thanks to a great feed from Niklas Hjalmarsson for a 3-2 lead.
Facing another one goal deficit, Minnesota pressured Crawford and the Hawks throughout the third period. Chicago would find a few looks offensively, but the Hawks would rely on Crawford to preserve their lead. While Crawford was able to keep out a few A+ chances from the Wild, Erik Haula was able to sneak a shot across the goal line at the 3:03 mark to tie the game. Both teams would trade looks in the last three minutes, but 60 minutes was not enough time to decide the outcome.
First of all, three-on-three hockey is arguably the most exciting format in all of sports. For Hawks fans, the opening minute was an emotional roller coaster as the Wild had three quality chances to win the game. However, Crawford continued to stand on his head and the game surged on. At the 3:09 mark of the extra period, Toews scored his ninth career overtime goal to set a new franchise record and give the Hawks two points. For Toews, it was his 11th point in seven games and third point of the night.
SCH’s 3 Stars of the Game
1) Toews, Blackhawks (GWG, 2 assists)
2) Crawford, Blackhawks (38 saves)
3) Keith, Blackhawks (3 assists, 3 SOG)
Chicago heads north Friday night to Winnipeg in search of their first win over the Jets this season.