Much like the Blackhawks’ team mantra, Corey Crawford only likes allowing one goal. That’s as many as he’s allowed in three of his four outings this season.
Thursday night wasn’t all Crawford, who made 18 saves and even picked up an assist. Patrick Kane scored his ninth goal of the season and the defense limited the Rangers to 19 shots in a 4-1 win Thursday at the United Center.
The Blackhawks’ (6-2-2) offense started hot, with Jonathan Toews scored less than three minutes into the game on a breakaway when two New York defenders ran into each other. Toews lifted the puck past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, giving the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.
It wouldn’t last.
Pavel Buchnevich pounced on a Brandon Manning turnover and after a few passes, found the back of the net to tie it 1-1.
The Blackhawks answered midway through the second period, with rookie Alexandre Fortin tapping in a terrific Nick Schmaltz pass to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead.
Artem Anisimov appeared to give Chicago a two-goal lead near the 12-minute mark in the third period, but the goal was waved off because the play was ruled dead.
After a bit of confusion, Kane added another goal five minutes later. The goal was disallowed at first, but reviewed twice by the upstairs official and on a Rangers challenge. Kane crashed the net and backhanded a puck into the wide-open net after Lundqvist attempted to make a diving save but couldn’t control the puck.
Alex DeBrincat found the open net with a little more than a minute to go for his eight goal of the season. DeBrincat and Kane both extended their respective point streaks with a goal.
Kane is also the first Blackhawks player to score nine goals in the first 10 games of a season since Jeremy Roenick in 1993-94.
Chicago travels to St. Louis on Saturday for a Central Division tilt against the Blues. The Blackhawks are 2-0 against the Blues this season with Cam Ward in net.
Crawford is definitely back
Crawford’s immediate resurgence since missing 10 months with a concussion has stunned many Blackhawks fans, myself included. He’s only allowed one goal in his past three outings, all of which were wins. Many regarded goaltending as the biggest question-mark this year, but with Crawford back to his old self, that problem seems to be remedied.
Fortin-Johnson-Schmaltz line has so much speed
Coach Joel Quenneville demoted Nick Schmaltz to the third line because of the forward’s indecisiveness when it came to shooting the puck. Some thought Schmaltz was using Patrick Kane as a crutch, with his decision-making revolving around getting the puck to Kane at all costs. Having Schmaltz on the third line puts the onus on him to shoot the puck more often.
Fortin’s and Schmaltz’s speed caused a lot of problems for New York, and if the former can develop hands and a good shot, that line could get be dangerous in a hurry.
Gustav Forsling can’t possibly be worse than Manning
Brandon Manning made a couple good plays, but they were overshadowed by his negative plays. His turnover caused Buchnevich’s goal, and he even gave away the puck a couple more times after that, including one time when he recovered enough to get the puck back.
Brandon Manning turnover ™— Spooky City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) October 26, 2018
Brandon Davidson might not necessarily be a viable alternative, but Gustav Forsling is in the AHL working his way back from an offseason wrist surgery. The young Forsling had some growing pains, but he can’t be worse than Manning. He just can’t be.
- Corey Crawford (CHI) — 18 saves, 1 assist
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist