Blackhawks vs. Rangers final score: Goalies dominate as Blackhawks fall in OT, 1-0
Do you like to see lots of goals? Then this was not your game.
Goaltending was on full display on Sunday night at the United Center, as both the Blackhawks' Corey Crawford and the Rangers' Cam Talbot dominated their creases and defended their nets for the entirety of the 60 minute regulation, sending the game to overtime in a scoreless tie. Derrick Brassard ended won it for the visitors less than a minute into the free hockey with a huge slapshot from the slot that beat Crawford low on the blocker side.
Despite the lack of scoring, this was an exciting hockey game. Both teams had a lot of good scoring chances in each and every period, only to be denied by the opposing goaltender. Teuvo Teravainen had an especially good night, driving a lot of the play when he was on the ice, and combining with linemates Brandon Saad and Antoine Vermette to generate a lot of scoring opportunities.
However, this one probably never should've made it to OT in the first place. The Blackhawks had four power play opportunities which they essentially squandered away without Talbot even breaking a sweat. Through their first three power play chances, Chicago had just one shot on goal. ONE. O-N-E! 1. That is bad.
If Joel Quennville was calling for the Blackhawks to "get pissed off" after their lackluster performance against the Oilers on Friday, I'm sure he'll have some choice words for his power play units in practice tomorrow. There's just altogether too much hesitation from the guys on that unit, as has seemingly been an issue for some time now. Rather than getting pucks on net, they look for the perfect pass find the easy goal. While that looks very nice when it works, "garbage goals" count just the same, so maybe just throwing the puck on net and hoping to put home a rebound is a good idea.
Regardless, this was a solid effort from the 'Hawks, certainly much better than the one they turned in on Friday. Obviously it'd be nice to win this one for your goalie, who turned in a fantastic effort, but 1 point is better than none. The Blackhawks now have another long three-day break, as they don't play again until Thursday, when they'll visit the Arizona Coyotes. That one has a late start time of 9:00 p.m. CT.
Three stars of the game
3. Penalty kill
While the Blackhawks' power play probably could've helped avoid OT, their penalty kill ensured the extra frame when they needed it most. The 'Hawks took a bad too many men penalty with just under 3 minutes to play in the third period, and things got a little bleak. But Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Marcus Kruger, and company turned in a very strong penalty kill effort, not allowing many shots on Corey Crawford, as well as chewing up a lot of the penalty time with a strong forecheck and offensive zone presence.
2. Teuvo Teravainen
As I said before, Teuvo had a very strong performance in this game. He was the best forward on the ice for the Blackhawks, and arguably in the whole game. He generated a lot of scoring chances, and drove the puck through the neutral zone well. One thing that might go unnoticed with Teuvo is how strong he is on zone entries, but he defnitely deserves to be recognized for it. He was one of the few Chicago players controlling the puck effectively as he got into the offensive zone. I see you, TT. He was rewarded for his strong play with the opportunity to open the OT period playing with Toews, and while he did lose his man leading to the OT goal, we're willing to look past that one mistake.
1. Corey Crawford
There's not much more you can say about Crow in this one than he was simply phenomenal. He dominated his crease, moved well laterally, and shut down the Rangers at nearly every turn. Late in the third period, he stopped a flurry of shots in an effort that earned him a standing ovation after the whistle blew. He stopped 35 of the 36 New York shots, and certainly gave his team a chance to win, even if they were unable to pull it out in the end.
Adam Hess is the editor and publisher of Feathers in the Hat, and a staff writer at Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter at @FeathersInDaHat.