March 14, 2017
Greg Boysen

For the second straight game, the Chicago Blackhawks lost the puck possession battle and were outshot by a first place team and came away with a regulation win because of timely scoring and the play of Corey Crawford.

The Blackhawks started off with a great pace to their game, but they were not able to produce many quality chances, that is until the 12:23 mark of the first period. Artem Anisimov picked up the puck in the neutral zone then hit the brakes to shed Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin and pass the puck over to Patrick Kane at the top of the right circle.  Kane walked the puck down before firing a snap shot that beat Price back to the far side.  Niklas Hjalmarsson was credited with the secondary assist on Kane’s 31st goal of the season. 

A few minutes after picking up his career-high 45th point of the season, Anismov was lost to what looked to be a fairly serious injury.  Anisimov was hit into the boards from behind by Alexander Radulov and his full weight landed on his left leg.  He needed to be helped off the ice as he could put no pressure on his left leg and did not return to the game.

Anisimov injury....Radulov went down hard on that leg pic.twitter.com/qZTuFSvKvm

— Ozzie (@OldComiskey) March 15, 2017

Johnny Oduya doubled the lead at 10:49 of the second period with his first goal for Blackhawks and second overall this year.  Jeff Petry made a nice sprawling play to block a Nick Schmaltz shot but the block found Oduya at the left point where he quickly shot the puck through a Paul Byron screen and in behind Price. 

Artemi Panarin made it 3-0 Blackhawks in the first minute of the third period.  Schmaltz made the play by completing a quick pass off the dasher boards to Panarin in front of the net where Panarin beat Price to the high glove side for his 23rd goal of the season.  Kane picked up the secondary assist. 

The Canadiens made things interesting by getting a goal from Byron with just over seven minutes to go and another from Shea Weber nearly four minutes later to cut the lead to 3-2.

Jonathan Toews iced the game with an empty net goal at 18:38.  Kane picked up the primary assist for his third point on the night and move ahead of Connor McDavid for the NHL scoring lead. 

Crawford has given up just four goals on 86 shots over his last two starts and as our friends Faxes From Uncle Dale point out, Crow has been very good when under heavy fire over the last two years.

Fun stat: Past two years Crow has seen 35+ shots 27 times in a game.. He's 23-3-1 with a .942 SV%.

— FaxesFromUncleDale (@RealFansProgram) March 15, 2017

There are two major positives to take out of tonight’s victory. First, the Blackhawks have taken over first place in the Central Division after the Minnesota Wild lost 4-2 at the Washington Capitals.

Second, Joel Quenneville said that Artem Anismov is day-to-day and did not think that his lower-body injury was serious. 

Image Credit: Getty Images