The Chicago Blackhawks came into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders looking to keep up their recent momentum, and they did just that as Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa each scored two goals in a 4-1 triumph.
Toews ended up with a total of four points in the game as he assisted on both of Hossa’s goals, and Corey Crawford made 38 saves as the Hawks won their third game in a row and fifth in their last six contests.
The game started out well for the Blackhawks as they put plenty of pressure on Michal Neuvirth in the early going.
Patrick Sharp got things started as he tipped in a shot from Johnny Oduya, and then Andrew Desjardins got off a great shot from the slot, but both chances fell by the wayside as Neuvirth kept things scoreless.
About seven minutes into the game, the Blackhawks were finally able to convert one of their chances and get on the board.
Ironically, it was one of their most innocuous chances of the period, as Toews chased down the puck in the corner and then tossed a centering pass out to the middle of the ice. The puck ended up ricocheting off of an Islanders defender, and it snuck past Neuvirth’s arm to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The top line continued their aggressive approach over the next few minutes as Hossa and Sharp each were denied on quality chances, but Toews converted on his to extend Chicago’s lead.
Johnny Oduya started the play in the defensive end by stealing the puck near the net, and he feathered a pass up to Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Swedish defenseman went right through the neutral zone without incident, and he eventually found Toews, who deposited a backhanded shot into the goal to make it 2-0.
Early in the second period, it looked as though the Blackhawks were going to be in some trouble as Andrew Shaw was tossed from the game for head-butting an opponent, but the five minute major was killed off with relative ease by the Blackhawks.
Toews and Hossa played big roles in the kill, as did Marcus Kruger and Brandon Saad, and by the time the penalty came off the board the Hawks had only given up one shot on goal in the process.
The Islanders did start making some progress a few minutes later on good chances from their top line, but the Hawks turned the tables and scored again to extend their lead. Brent Seabrook fired a gorgeous stretch pass up the ice to find Toews, and after fighting off a check attempt the Hawks’ captain shoveled a pass to Hossa, who fired a one-timer past Neuvirth to give Chicago a 3-0 cushion.
In the final minutes of the period, the Blackhawks got some tremendous play out of their goaltender to keep the shutout intact. Crawford made a great save on a Cal Clutterbuck shot attempt from the slot, and then stoned Anders Lee in a netmouth scramble that saw the goaltender eventually fall on the puck.
Kyle Okposo fired a high shot in on Crawford a few moments later, and Travis Hamonic had a good chance of his own from in close, but the goaltender stood tall to keep the Hawks up by three after two periods of play.
In the opening moments of the third period, Hossa scored again to make it a 4-0 contest. Hjalmarsson made a nice play at the point to keep the puck in the zone, and after a couple of tic-tac-toe passes by Toews and Sharp, the puck eventually found its way off of Hossa’s skate and into the goal for the tally.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, that good luck was quickly turned on its head as the Islanders scored less than five minutes later. Duncan Keith made a nice play to block a Tyler Kennedy shot in the slot, but the puck bounced right onto the stick of Nikolay Kulemin, who pushed a shot past Crawford to make it a 4-1 game with less than 15 minutes to go.
The Islanders had a chance to continue to eat into the Hawks’ lead just a few minutes later as Hossa was sent off for a holding penalty, but they once again couldn’t get any offense generated as the Blackhawks’ penalty killing unit stood tall again as they helped propel the team to an impressive victory.
The Blackhawks will look for a sweep over Big Apple teams on Wednesday night when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.