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Blackhawks defeat Islanders in 3-2 shootout thriller

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Cam Ward and two power play goals lift Chicago to victory.

NHL: New York Islanders at Chicago Blackhawks Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

On a cold and snowy Tuesday night outside the United Center, the Blackhawks cooled one of the hottest teams in the NHL.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both scored in a shootout and Cam Ward stopped both shots he faced for a 3-2 win over the Islanders.

How it Happened

It wasn’t easy. The Islanders opened the scoring on a goal by Valteri Filppula in the first period. Artem Anisimov won the draw, but a bad bounce doomed Henri Jokiharju as the puck went right to Filpula, who went five-hole on Ward.

After a delayed slashing penalty on Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin put John Hayden in a headlock and the officials sent both Islanders to the penalty box to give the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes. Dylan Strome had a turnover early on the man advantage, but made up for it by taking a pass from Kane and rifled it low blocker on Robin Lehner.

The goal was Strome’s 12th of the season, and extended Kane’s point streak to nine games.

The deadlock only lasted a minute and twenty-eight seconds, as Mathew Barzal jumped on a turnover by Connor Murphy and scored on a breakaway.

The Islanders held the 2-1 lead until 22 seconds left in the second period when Toews scored Chicago’s second power play goal of the night for his 22nd goal this season. DeBrincat took a one-timer that popped off Lehner into mid-air and Toews batted the puck into the net.

The score held through the third period thanks to a stellar effort by Ward in net.

The game went to a shootout despite a pair of 2-on-1 opportunities and a Kane breakaway in overtime.

Ward’s stellar play carried into the shootout. After Toews beat Lehner with a nifty backhand, Ward denied Josh Bailey. Kane then beat Lehner stick side and Ward robbed Barzal, atoning for the greasy breakaway goal allowed earlier and sealing the win.

3 Thoughts

Ward can be good

It’s no secret that many fans still don’t like Cam Ward in the rotation with Corey Crawford being out, but when he has outings like this it’s easy to like what you see from him. He looked good and really kept the Hawks in the game. If he can play like this consistently, I’ll be won over by his improvement.

3-on-3 overtime

What he said.

Toews, that is all.

After concerns by some that Toews’ game had fallen off, he’s proven that wrong with one the best seasons in his career. He tied the game and scored first in the shootout to shift the pressure the Islanders. It was yet another example this season that the captain is back.

3 Stars

  1. Cam Ward (CHI) — 34 saves, 0.944 save percentage
  2. Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 SO goal
  3. Dylan Strome (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist