The Chicago Blackhawks needed a strong push late in their game against the Vancouver Canucks, but it worked as they picked up a thrilling 4-2 victory at the United Center.
The game featured some strong individual performances and a dominant effort possession-wise, and we have picked the three guys most key to the victory.
Third Star: Artem Anisimov
Anisimov may not have appeared on the scoresheet for this game, but he made a big impact regardless. On a night when the Blackhawks got dominated in the face-off dot, Anisimov not only held his own on draws, winning 50 percent of them, but he also had a monster possession-night as he racked up an incredible 82.6 percent Corsi in the game.
In doing that, Anisimov not only short-circuited plenty of Vancouver offensive chances, but he also generated a ton for the Blackhawks as well, tilting the balance of play in their favor.
Second Star: Richard Panik
Panik is a guy that routinely has monster outings, and he was all over the place in the Blackhawks’ win. He scored a goal and added an assist, and it was his helper that proved to be the most important play of the game.
On a charge down the ice, Panik spotted Jonathan Toews open on the opposite side of the net. Deliberately firing the puck wide of Ryan Miller, Panik got a favorable bounce off of the end boards, and Toews potted the goal to give the Blackhawks a lead they would never surrender.
First Star: Jonathan Toews
In a game where Toews figured in all four goals, there was zero question that he was the biggest star. He picked up the game-winning goal and added three more assists, and it was his last tally that really showed off his abilities.
On the play, Toews had to outrace the Vancouver defensemen to get to a loose puck, negating an icing and enabling more time to leak off the clock in the closing seconds of the game. Without hesitating, Toews moved back toward the blue line, and he found Marian Hossa for an easy tap-in empty net goal and a Blackhawks victory.