Tension running high in Blackhawks overtime loss to Flyers
The Blackhawks were in Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Tuesday night before going back home to the UC to play the St Louis Blues on Wednesday.
The starting goaltenders for each team were backup rookie goalkie Antti Raanta for the Bkackhawks, and former Blackhawks Ray Emery for Philadelphia. Emery won the Cup with Chicago last season and signed with the Flyers during the offseason.
Two and a half minutes in the first period, Andrew Shaw opened the scoring for Chicago on a late play, going straight to the net and stunning Philadelphia's defence. Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp get the assists.
And less than two minutes later, Duncan Keith scored a very soft goal on Emery, with Kris Versteeg in front of the net, and assists for Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews.
However, the Flyers managed to break the Hawks' momentum six minutes into the game on an offensive play that saw the puck to into the Blackhawks' net from Marcus Kruger's foot after a shot from Scott Hartnell. Brayden Coburn gets an assist.
Despite killing two penalties in a row, the Blackhawks allowed another goal three minutes before the end of the period, making it a 2-2 game. Claude Giroux moved the puck around the net before passing to Hartnell for a one-timer that Raanta couldn't stop. The period would end with the score tied and the Flyers having ythr edge in shots, 14-7.
The second period would not let up in intensity, with four penalties, two apiece, and all of them killed as the period went on without a goal scored. The shots were still in favor of the Flyers after 40 minutes, but the Blackhawks regained some control. They came out strong at the beginning of the period but couldn't replicate the five first minutes of the game. Sheldon Brookbank dropped the gloves with Zac Rinaldo and the Blackhawks were energised by it, using some more anger in their game.
The intensity in the third period didn't let up, with more penalties and another fight, between Bryan Bickell and Wayne Simmonds which would take them both out of the game for the rest of regulation time as they fought 5 minutes before the end of the period. The Flyers almost got the go-ahead goal just before the fight but it was immediately waved off by the referees because of a high-stick, and the game stayed tied at 2 all through the third period, heading to overtime.
Raanta, after a slightly shaky start, gained confidence and was stellar in goal for the Blackhawks, making numerous acrobatic saves as Chicago was outshot 34-23 throughout regulation.
Overtime would see Giroux score for the Flyers with 4.2 seconds left to play, after a missed shot attempt by Versteeg. Giroux beat Raanta to win Philadelphia the game. The point the Blackhawks win gets them tied with Colorado, the Avs with a game in hand.
Tomorrow night, the Blackhawks face off with the current NHL leader, and their biggest division rival, the St Louis’ Blues. The Blues are 20-0-2 against their division rivals and 3-0-0 against the Blackhawks this season. They’re currently on a 3 games win streak, and they were the first team to break 100 points this season.
The Blackhawks will have Corey Crwaford fresh in the net after playing Raanta against Philadelphia, and the rivalry between St Louis and Chicago is going strong, meaning the players will be riled up for a win against the Blues. These two teams don’t like each other, even though David Backes, Ryan Miller, Kevin Shattenkirk and TJ Oshie having been Patrick Kane’s teammates for team USA, while Alexander Steen played with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger for team Sweden, and Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester played alongside Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith for team Canada. Despite winning medals together a month ago, these players have very little love for each other during the NHL season.
The Blues have successfully shut down Chicago’s offense in their match-ups this season, but the Hawks will try their hardest to avoid a sweep and score plenty of goals against their strongest rivals. The Blackhawks against Blues match-ups are always entertaining and tense, if a little mean, and this one will be one to watch.
Game time is 8.00 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBCSN and TSN2.