The Chicago Blackhawks had won five straight games against the New Jersey Devils, but that streak came to a whimpering end as they fell by a score of 4-2 on Friday night.
Tanner Kero scored his first career NHL goal, and Patrick Kane extended his points streak to nine games, but it wasn’t enough as the Hawks lost for the second night in a row.
The Blackhawks got off to a sluggish start against the Devils, and some carelessness with the puck ended up costing them. After Niklas Hjalmarsson received a pass in the defensive zone from Teuvo Teravainen, he turned the puck over, and Lee Stempniak took advantage as the winger fired a shot past Corey Crawford to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.
The Devils were unable to convert on a power play about halfway through the period, but as the frame came to an end they were able to score to extend their lead. After a tie-up in the face-off circle, Kyle Palmieri pounced on the puck and quickly ripped a wrist shot that evaded Crawford, putting the Devils ahead by two goals.
Just 26 seconds later, the Devils scored again. Travis Zajac came in hard on the rush, and even though Hjalmarsson blocked his initial shot, the talented forward got his own rebound and slid home the shot to put New Jersey up by a 3-0 margin after 20 minutes of play.
The Blackhawks’ offensive struggles continued even after Joel Quenneville attempted to shake things up by pulling Crawford in favor of Scott Darling. The Hawks got an early power play in the second period, but they couldn’t generate any good chances as the New Jersey defense continued to smother them.
Later in the frame, the Devils took advantage as they scored again to extend their lead. Damon Severson made a great play as the got the puck near the top of the face-off circle, and after waiting for a beat he found Michael Cammalleri for the goal to make it a 4-0 game.
The Devils nearly made it a 5-0 game a few moments later, but the goal was waved off after Sergey Kalinin was ruled to have interfered with Darling, negating Cammalleri’s attempt at a second goal in the period.
The Blackhawks finally managed to get on the board late in the period thanks to a good possession by their second line. With Quenneville shuffling up lines, Andrew Shaw made his way to the front of the net, and new linemate Patrick Kane took advantage as the winger fired home a shot to not only cut the Devils’ lead to 4-1, but it also extended his personal scoring streak to nine games.
The Blackhawks pulled their goaltender with about six and a half minutes to go in the game, but it took them nearly five minutes to score without Darling in the cage. Finally, Artemi Panarin made the play happen as he fired a quick pass to the front of the cage, and Tanner Kero backhanded a shot past Schneider to make it a 4-2 game with a minute and a half to go.
The Hawks had a few more opportunities to get back into the game, but that wasn’t enough as the team lost for the second game in a row.
On Sunday the Blackhawks will return to the United Center where they will take on the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.