Amid air of controversy, Blackhawks blank Panthers
Despite all of the nonsense currently swirling around the Chicago Blackhawks, they were able to put it behind them en route to a convincing 3-0 win over the Panthers.
Despite the fact that they were coming off of a win on Tuesday night, there was a whole lot of bad heading into Thursday night's tilt with the Florida Panthers, which marked the second half of their home-and-home with the South Beach club. With the Patrick Kane injury weighing on everyone's mind, Johnny Oduya also out, a trade deadline quickly approaching, and a report that a fight broke out in the locker room recently, there were a wealth of distractions that could've destroyed the Hawks in this one.
Those distractions weren't exactly evident, however, as the Hawks were able to cruise to a 3-0 win over the Panthers. The win marked their first "clean" win, that didn't require overtime or a shootout, over any opponent in nearly two weeks. Even Tuesday night's win over this same Panthers team required a shootout in order to grab the extra point. This one just felt like one the Hawks were not going to lose. The Panthers never sniffed a goal and the Hawks were able to grab a pair in their first of two games in the state of Florida in the next two days.
Obviously playing without Patrick Kane set the Hawks back a bit, but Teuvo Teravainen immediately made an appearance in his second stint with the Blackhawks this season. He scored to open up the box score just three minutes into the first period. He displayed those sweet hands on a shot that he simply flipped over Roberto Luongo, who was going down and had no chance at getting it.
Of course, Tuevo's third of the year wasn't exactly the focus in the first period, as the continued incompetence of the Blackhawks' power play stole the show. They had an extended 5-on-3 for well over a minute and were unable to capitalize. Not only that, they could barely get a shot on net. They seem content to stand stationary and pass throughout the span of time in which they have the advantage. This is a problem.
Nonetheless, the Hawks were able to avoid paying for their own power play struggles, as we've seen multiple times this season. Brandon Saad added another goal early on in the second period, before Jonathan Toews threw in the empty netter to seal the deal. Corey Crawford did the job, even if he didn't have to be spectacular to win this one.
While it wasn't exactly a runaway of a win, the Hawks weren't going to lose this one. They allowed only 20 shots on goal and the Panthers, for the better part of 60 minutes, seemed more interested in playing the physical game than actually trying to score goals. That was extremely evident on the ice, even if the Hawks only held a slim 48-46 edge in Corsi.
This was a necessary win for the Blackhawks. With all of the nonsense heading into this one, they needed to go out and play a sound hockey game. They did that. Onto the stars
Three Stars of the Night
3. Teuvo Teravainen
Teuvo scored a sweet little goal early in the first period. And then we never saw him again. Despite helping the Hawks to hit the ground running, and being an absolutely necessary source of offense with Patrick Kane out, Teuvo didn't crack the 10-minute mark. That's wildly disappointing, if unsurprising. Hopefully his spark early on earns him some more time down the road.
2. Brandon Saad
Manchild is going to be a very rich man this summer. Saad scored the Hawks' second goal of the game and was active throughout the night, adding an additional assist on the Toews empty-netter. He drew a penalty to put the Hawks on a 4-on-3 power play, and subsequently a two-man advantage, in the first period. Obviously the Blackhawks didn't cash in, but he worked his ass off to draw the penalty.
1. Corey Crawford
Just by virtue of the shutout, Corey Crawford gets the no. 1 spot for tonight. He only faced 20 shots overall, but there were some tricky ones in there that could have very easily gone the other way, especially with the horrid luck that he and the Hawks have experienced lately. It was his second shutout of the year.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.