Blackhawks Win In Shootout Despite Special Teams Woes
by Scott King
Even with the game of the century at Wrigley Field Saturday night, 21,375 Blackhawks fans flocked to the United Center to see the Hawks take on fellow Original Sixers the Toronto Maple Leafs. The old time hockey matchup showcased the Hawks’ struggling special teams followed by the fight of their lives to come back and win.
The Hawks allowed another power play goal in the second period. Forward William Nylander scored on a cross-ice pass from rookie Auston Matthews to make it 4-2 Toronto. It was the twelfth power play goal the Blackhawks have let in this season. The team is 9-for-21 on the kill.
“It’s definitely mental,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on the Hawks’ special team woes following the game. “Obviously we want to snug up on the little mistakes that we’re making, but you’re bound to make mistakes and you’re bound to give up some chances against good players that can make plays.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re on such a rough slide, we just need to keep working and find a way to break through because it’s going to make a huge difference for us in games and it has so far. It’s something we really need to keep focusing on.”
Down 4-2 late in the third period, Chicago fought hard for two goals with the extra attacker. After pulling goaltender Scott Darling, Artem Anisimov scored with 2:28 remaining in regulation, then Richard Panik tied it up 4-4 with 1:28 remaining.
The Blackhawks got one power play early on in overtime followed by a 4-on-3 power play with 39.1 seconds remaining in extra hockey, but couldn’t get it done. They went 0-for-6 on the power play in Saturday’s matchup.
Jonathan Toews and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout and Hawks goaltender Scott Darling stopped two of three Leafs shooters to capture the victory.
“We needed it, it wasn’t pretty for a while there,” Toews said. “Even in the third sometimes it looked like wherever we were going there was nothing. They were there and they were shutting us down. You know everything is going against us again. We’re giving up chances, but we just hung in there, it was another big goal by ‘Arty'” (Artem Anisimov).
Richard Panik became the league’s leading goal-scorer Saturday night (6).
“I just try to find a space in front of the net,” Panik said. “That’s the spot I like to go [to], that I score from.”
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