In a Saturday matinee that nearly turned into a snoozefest, the Chicago Blackhawks knocked off the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-2 in a road triumph.
Patrick Kane scored the game-tying goal late in the third period and scored the lone goal in the shootout as the Hawks won their eighth consecutive game against the Sabres. Dennis Rasmussen scored his third goal of the season in the first period, and Corey Crawford stopped 25 shots and all three shootout attempts against him to earn the victory.
The first period got off to a sluggish start, but Rasmussen showed that he was ready to play as he made an excellent move to give the Blackhawks the lead. Clearing the blue line, Rasmussen maneuvered his way around Evander Kane at the face-off dot, and he backhanded a shot past Chad Johnson to put the Blackhawks ahead 1-0.
The remainder of the first period proceeded without much fanfare, as the Hawks outshot the Sabres 6-5 in the frame, but Buffalo kicked up their offense a notch as the second period got underway. They maintained several lengthy possessions in the Chicago end of the ice, but Crawford was able to make some key stops to keep his team in front.
Unfortunately, Crawford suffered a lapse in concentration and the Blackhawks paid the price. On a Jack Eichel dump into the zone, Crawford came out of the net to play the puck, but it skipped over his stick and continued along the boards. Defenseman Cody Franson pinched into the zone and fired a quick shot on net, and Crawford could only watch it slide past him as the Sabres tied the game at 1-1.
That score remained in place through the rest of the period and a good chunk of the third, but with about five minutes to go in the game Buffalo seized the lead. On a poor defensive play, Brent Seabrook allowed Ryan O’Reilly to gain possession of the puck in the corner, and after he pushed it to Sam Reinhart, he got a return pass in front of the net and ripped a shot past Crawford to make it a 2-1 game.
Late in the contest, the Blackhawks got a 5-on-3 power play, and at the very end of the sequence they were finally able to tie the game up. Duncan Keith made a key play as he pinched in to keep the puck in the zone, and after Artemi Panarin snared it in the face-off circle, he fired a pass across to Kane, who flipped a shot into the empty net to knot the game at 2-2.
The overtime period saw both teams get power plays, but neither was able to convert. The Blackhawks ended up winning in the shootout as Kane tossed a backhanded shot over Johnson to win the contest for the visitors.
Chicago will head back home for a Sunday evening contest against the San Jose Sharks.