Chicago pulls out win over the Islanders in a shootout
It was a sloppy win that felt more like a loss.
Last night, Chicago took on the NY Islanders at the United Center and came away with a 5-4 win in a shootout. The game was a mess on both sides of the ice, starting with the Blackhawks' too many men penalty at 2:28 that led to a PPG to open up the scoring, and reflected in the lopsided stats that marked the whole game.
Early in the first, Chicago had a couple good looks at the net and, as has often happened this season, came out strong. But a bad shift change led to that 2MM penalty, and Kyle Okposo put the Islanders on the board first at 4:07. Chicago tied it up at 10:27 with a very pretty pair of passes from Daniel Carcillo and Sean O'Donnell that led to an Andrew Brunette goal, but exactly four minutes later, the Islanders took back the lead on a Matt Moulson goal. Moulson started off the season a bit cold, but he's warmed up as of late. He's consistently scored 30+ for the Islanders the last two seasons, and is on pace for the same this year.
Chicago rookie Ben Smith scored his first of the year at 6:41 of the second to tie things up again, and then both teams went scoreless for most of the rest of the period as Chicago outshot NY by a 15-2 margin. The Blackhawks tightened up their defense so well that they even got a short-handed goal by captain Jonathan Toews to take the lead at 18:41 while killing off a double minor penalty (Steve Montador, high stick).
Unfortunately, the Hawks were still on the PK to open the third, and in the final seconds of the Islanders PP, PA Parenteau tied it up. Chicago's once-sterling PK% plunged due to the 5:6 PPG allowed in the November 6th game vs. the Canucks, and it's just never recovered. After last night's game, the Blackhawks PK is a league-lowest 73.8%. Last year's 79.2 PK% for Chicago is nearly shining in comparison; the Blackhawks' PK hasn't been this bad in more than a decade.
The Hawks followed that up with a PPG of their own by Patrick Sharp at 5:08, but the Islanders were playing determined hockey. Where Chicago had been dominant throughout the second, now the tables were turned, with the Islanders having most of the pressure, and after being outshot by the Blackhawks 29-15 in the first two periods, NYI outshot Chicago 23-7 in the third. Nino Niederreiter scored his first of the season, an even-handed goal at 8:55, to tie things up yet again.
Both teams were held scoreless for the second half of the third, and then overtime, so the game went to the shootout. Jonathan Toews tallied the lone goal in the shootout to give Chicago the win, 5-4.
The three stars of the night were: 3. Patrick Sharp (CHI); 2. Matt Moulson (NYI); and 1. Jonathan Toews (CHI).
Chicago and the Islanders will have their second and final matchup of the season next Thursday at Nassau Coliseum in NY at 7:00pm ET. Tonight, the Blackhawks are at the St. Louis Blues, 7:00pm CT on WGN.