Blackhawks head to the All-Star break happy after a shootout win over the Islanders
CHICAGO – It’s been a first half of the season full of change and one that’s left them with a lot of work to do in order to stay in the postseason hunt.
Outside of the performance of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, it’s been quite a different few months for the Blackhawks than fans are used to, as they came into Tuesday’s game with the Islanders sitting at the bottom of the standings in the NHL.
Facing a New York team that entered in first place in the Metropolitan Division, the hope for Jeremy Colliton’s team was to get a little momentum before an over week-long All-Star Break.
Indeed the did, but the needed some extra effort to get it done.
After rallying to tie the game twice, the Blackhawks beat the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday night at the United Center for their second-straight victory. Cam Ward made 35 critical saves through three periods and overtime, then stopped both shootout tries by the visitors. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored on their first two attempts to give the Blackhawks the two points.
The team now be off until February 1st when they face the Sabres in Buffalo. Kane is the only member of the team who is headed to NHL All-Star Weekend in San Jose this Friday or Saturday.
New York took the lead twice on their hosts on Tuesday but each time the Blackhawks rallied to tie the game. Valtteri Filppula gave the Islanders the lead in the first but he was answered by Dylan Strome, who scored on the power play to even the game at one. Just a minute and 28 seconds later, however, New York got the lead back as Mathew Barzal beat Ward for the score to make it 2-1.
But with 22 seconds left in the period, Toews evened the score with his 22nd goal of the year and fourth in as many games. Ward and Islanders goalie Robin Lehner held their own through the third period and a spirited overtime session before the Blackhawks finally triumphed in the shootout.
It’s just the 44th and 45th point the Blackhawks have gotten this season, and there is a lot of work left to do for the team in the final 31 games if they have postseason hopes. But at least they can feel a little better as they head to a much needed All-Star break.