It may have been their third game in four nights, but the Chicago Blackhawks showed some tremendous resiliency on Tuesday, coming back from a two goal deficit to knock off the Ottawa Senators by a score of 6-5.
Jonathan Toews scored a hat trick in the game, and Andrew Shaw had two goals as well. Corey Crawford made 14 saves as he picked up the win in relief of Nikolai Khabibulin.
The Hawks got off to another intense start against a Senators team that is capable of playing the track-meet style that Chicago can bring to the party at times. They were getting some great back-checking going, and they got some really good defensive performances early, with Johnny Oduya’s play on an early 4-on-4 standing out as he cleared a puck out of the crease to keep Ottawa off the board.
Those kinds of plays set the stage for the Hawks to take advantage offensively, and that they did, scoring in the opening seconds of a power play to give themselves a 1-0 lead (and their sixth straight game with a power play goal). Duncan Keith fired a shot from the point that ended up being deflected back out, and Patrick Sharp followed that up with another shot to take advantage of the netfront traffic provided by Toews and Andrew Shaw. The puck found its way into the net after deflecting off of Shaw, and the Hawks seemed to have the momentum.
Unfortunately for Chicago, they let up just a little bit too much at the end of the period, as Milan Michalek took advantage of a defensive breakdown and fired a wrist shot past Khabibulin to tie the game up at 1-1 with about a minute left in the frame.
The lethargy that marked the end of that period for Chicago carried over to the second period, and Brent Seabrook ended up taking a lazy tripping penalty in front of the goal to put the Hawks on the penalty kill. The Senators ended up making them pay late in that sequence, as Kyle Turris potted a tally to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead.
That goal seemed to reinvigorate the Hawks, and they struck again less than a minute later. Toews grabbed a stretch pass deep in the offensive zone off the stick of Niklas Hjalmarsson, and he patiently waited for Marian Hossa, who skated untouched through the offensive zone and one timed a shot between the legs of Craig Anderson to tie the game at 2-2.
Once again though, the Senators were able to respond. Two and a half minutes after Hossa’s 100th goal as a member of the Hawks, Khabibulin was screened by Bobby Ryan in front of the net, and Joe Corvo’s shot from the point evaded the veteran keeper to give Ottawa the lead right back. Less than a minute later, Khabibulin wasn’t able to stay squared up to Mika Zibanejad, and he was beaten easily as the Senators took a 4-2 lead and sent Khabibulin to the showers.
Perhaps buoyed by the early play of Crawford in his relief appearance, the Hawks seemed to gain new life when their starting keeper hit the ice. On a rush by the top line, the puck found its way over the top of the cross bar, and Anderson sprawled out on the ice after attempting to block the shot. Toews picked up the puck behind the net, and wrapped it around for the goal to bring Chicago to within a goal at the second intermission.
Early on in the third period, it was once again the Toews line that made things happen for Chicago. Ottawa defenseman played too far up in the zone, and when Oduya had a great burst in on a zone entry, he was able to find a streaking Toews in front. Toews didn’t miss, and his second tally of the game tied things up at 4-4.
That first line ended up creating more offense a few shifts later, as Hossa found Brent Seabrook pinching in from the point. Seabrook’s shot was stopped by Anderson, but when the rebound trickled out into the blue paint, it was Toews that popped the shot home for his third career hat trick and more importantly gave Chicago a 5-4 lead.
Feeling left out, the third line got in on the party later in the period. Jeremy Morin made an excellent play along the boards, stripping the puck from an Ottawa defender and firing a quick low shot at Anderson’s leg pads. The keeper was able to stop the shot, but he wasn’t able to stop Shaw, who popped in the rebound for his second goal of the night and gave the Hawks an insurance goal.
That tally proved to be crucial, as the Senators scored just 13 seconds later, as Zach Smith stole a puck in the offensive zone and fired home a shot past Crawford’s glove to get the Senators to within a 6-5 margin. Chicago was able to take the air out of the puck though, and they ran out the clock to finish out their October slate on a winning note.
For now, the Hawks will have a few days off before they hit the ice in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon to take on the Jets.