A Night of Firsts For The Blackhawks

Pick up a shootout victory in Columbus

Going into Saturday night's contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets there were a couple of things that Blackhawks had failed to do on this young season.  First and foremost, they were still looking for their first victory outside of the United Center.  They were also looking to notch their first win against a Central Division opponent, after losing their first three games against division foes in shootouts.

Well, despite the fact that they were completely outplayed for the most part, the Hawks escaped Columbus with a 4-3 win after beating the Blue Jackets in a shootout.  Which, now that I think about it, was another first for the Hawks.  Before tonight those three shootout losses were the only shootouts the Hawks have had this season, and tonight they finally won one. 

Jonathan Toews scored the lone goal for either team in the shootout, his third shootout goal of the year, but he's still looking for the first goal that counts on the stat sheet.   Patrick Sharp scored his seventh goal of the season to get the scoring started in the first period, and Brent Seabrook added his third while Martin Havlat picked up his fourth, but the real star of the game for the Blackhawks was goalie Cristobal Huet.

Remember how I said the Hawks were completely outplayed earlier?  Well it was pretty obvious from the get go that the Hawks didn't have their legs beneath them after getting into Columbus at 2AM after Friday night's win at home.   Not only did the Hawks get called for nine penalties in the game, but they were also outshot by Columbus 51-24.  Yes, you read that right.

So after learning that Huet had to deal with nine Columbus power plays -- one of which came in overtime -- and 51 shots, those three goals he gave up don't seem like a big deal anymore, do they?  The truth is the only reason the Hawks won was because of Huet's brilliance in the crease all night.

While some people see having two goalies as a problem and would like to see some consistency in who guards the net, I'm starting to see it as a blessing.   Both tenders are playing spectacular early in the season, and at the very worst, one of them will become a very valuable trade chip late in the season.

The Hawks will take a much deserved day off on Sunday before resuming their season on Monday at home against the Avalanche.

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