Blackhawks Finish Islanders on Sharp's OT Goal
Last night was one of the few games of late this season when Blackhawks' team captain Jonathan Toews was not responsible for carrying his team on his shoulders in an effort to come away with two points.
Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa both had a goal and 2 assists a piece en route to a 3-2 overtime win for Chicago over the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum.
Ray Emery allowed only 2 goals on 33 shots for the Hawks and Chicago killed all 6 Islander power play attempts in the victory.
Marian Hossa opened the scoring midway through the first period for the Blackhawks on his power play goal from a feed by Patrick Kane. It was Hossa's 400th career NHL goal.
Patrick Sharp then made it 2-0 early in the second period with his slap shot from the top of the left circle to put his team up.
The New York Islanders began their climb back into the game with Travis Hamonic's first goal of the season late in the second period on a slap shot past Ray Emery with help from a Blackhawk defensive screen.
Another defensive screen provided the additional help the Islanders needed to tie the game at 2 a piece as Steve Staios took a slap shot that Michael Grabner was able to re-direct for a goal midway through the third period.
However, the New York comeback was to no avail, as Marian Hossa made an impressive entry into the Islanders zone a minute and a half into overtime, took a shot high in the slot, which generated a perfect rebound for Sharp to bang home for the game winning goal and his 15th of the season.
Blackhawks fans should feel good about Ray Emery's effort in net last night, in lieu of some minor struggles by starter, Corey Crawford. Don't be surprised if Emery gets the next start after two solid performances for his club.
The Chicago defensive effort was much better last night than in recent games, despite the stat sheet of 33 shots allowed on goal. The only goals scored against Chicago were both as a result of defensive screens. If those shots can be blocked, Emery doesn't have to make those save attempts.
However, the fact that Chicago still struggled to maintain a lead against one of the league's poorest offensive clubs is definitely cause for concern. That will have to change in order for the Blackhawks to be considered a serious Stanley Cup contender.
The most significant thing to take away from last night's Blackhawks victory was the fact that Jonathan Toews was not solely responsible for the offensive success of his team. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa had fantastic efforts and led the way for their team's win. Successful teams are able to utilize their offensive depth when it counts and last night was a great example of that.
The Chicago Blackhawks host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, Dec. 11th at 6 pm CT. The game will be televised on the NHL Network and on WGN.