A ridiculous 9 game losing streak ended on Thursday night for the Chicago Blackhawks as they get an improbable victory over the New York Rangers by a 4-2 score. Rangers goaltender Martin Biron gave up 3 goals on his first 3 shots and was down 4-0 after just 10 minutes of play. Despite his poor play, Henrik Lundqvist remained on the bench.
Jonathan Toews scored on a penalty shot just a minute into the game after Rangers defenseman Dan Giardi covered the puck in the crease. Nick Leddy scored a minute later and Patrick Sharp notched one at the 4:00 mark of the 1st. For good measure, Marian Hossa got a breakaway goal at 9:38.
The Rangers answered early in the 2nd period however as Marc Staal powered a shot from the point past Corey Crawford 3 minutes in. However, this would barely put a dent in the Hawks.
It was a mostly uneventful 3rd period though New York got a late goal from Carl Hagelin. It certainly wasn’t enough to overcome the giant deficit.
This is the Blackhawks team that is built around offense. While the defense has been middle of the pack this season, all it takes is a solid effort to succeed. The scoring will always be there as they are one of the most feared teams up front.
The Hawks, despite going 1-8-1 over their last 10 games, remain in a prime playoff position. Competing in the Central division makes this all the more impressive with frequent opponents like Detroit, St. Louis, and Nashville.
Goaltending has been the only question for the Blackhawks this year, and never was it more evident than over the past 3 weeks. Rumors are flying about a potential deal with the Buffalo Sabres for Ryan Miller. Who the Hawks would give up is questionable, but it certainly poses a question as to the direction the Sabres are going.
This was a huge victory for Chicago, not only to get some momentum going (they play at NHL worst Columbus on Saturday), but it shows they can play against one of the NHL’s best…and dominate.
For the Rangers, who are at the top of the East, this is not the type of loss you want to have. The defense looked outmatched, the offense looked stagnant, and Martin Biron looked dreadful. The good news, is that it was just one game. No goaltender in my opinion is better on breakaways/penalty shots than Lundqvist and Biron faced two of those tonight. Every losing team needs an excuse right?