Oh, Montreal, you have so much to offer – your unique bagels, the poutine at La Banquise, the smoked meat at Schwartz’s Deli and of course the beautiful city itself. Then I look at your hockey team, and I can’t help but shake my head and wonder where you went wrong. I did this again when the Blackhawks rolled into town to play the Canadiens.
The Habs were coming off a win against the Oilers on Sunday, which was on the heels of being shut out by the Flames last week. With Carey Price holding a six-game winning streak, it was bound to be a tough task for the Hawks to beat the home team. In the end, they did just that.
There were goals from Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin and an empty netter from Jonathan Toews. There was even one from Johnny Oduya, in his third game after his trade from Dallas. Richard Panik almost had a goal, going one-on-one with Price, but he crashed into the net. Upon further review, the puck was called dead before it crossed the goal line. The puck is survived by several dozen friends and will be sadly missed.
The night wasn’t without a few stomach-clenching moments. Scott Darling, previously sidelined with a hand injury, was back in the fold as backup for Corey Crawford. Not that Crawford really needed the help, as he made 40 saves on 42 shots. I will say that the league’s concussion spotters were probably too busy watching Rachel Maddow talk about a certain person’s tax returns to notice that Crawford took a Shea Weber slap shot to the mask in the second period, which knocked him on his butt.
Should he have stayed in the game right after that? No. If he passed the concussion protocol, should he have been back out there? Sure. But trusting his judgement alone is why the spotters are there in the first place. You just can’t take that kind of risk.
The other moment involved Artem Anisimov. Late in the first period, Alexander Radulov shoved Anisimov into the boards and fell, taking Anisimov with him and tying up his legs in the process. While the injury was called “lower-body”, a picture later showed Anisimov with a walking cast, indicating it was most likely an ankle injury.
With this win and the Wild losing to the Capitals, the Hawks are now on top of both the Central Division and the Western Conference. Keep in mind that the Wild still have a game in hand, but it looks like it’ll be down to the wire for the playoffs.
- Anisimov will be out 3-4 weeks with his injury. Joel Quenneville is hopeful that he returns before the end of the regular season, but he’ll at least be back for the playoffs. In the meantime, Nick Schmaltz will center Panarin and Kane.
- Three big signings happened recently, both from the college front: John Hayden, from Yale, and Anthony Louis, from Miami University of Ohio, both signed two-year contracts. Luc Snuggerud, from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, signed a three-year contract. While Louis and Snuggerud will report to Rockford, Hayden is expected to play with the Hawks at some point in this road trip.
- Kane is now tied with Connor McDavid and Brad Marchand for first in the overall points standings, with Sidney Crosby not far behind. While the Hawks play the Senators on Thursday, the Bruins have a late game against the Oilers. Needless to say, the race for the Art Ross is getting tight this year.