It took ’em long enough! In the 80th game of the year, their final regular season home game, the Chicago Blackhawks finally won in the overtime period. In a low scoring match-up with the Montreal Canadiens, the Hawks battled for a chance during the first two periods before both teams broke through in a practically wild third period. With their fourth-straight win, the Hawks move closer to quite possibly getting the desired home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
The first two periods of the game were scoreless and a little slow. Still, Corey Crawford had his hands full with the Canadiens offense. Max Pacioretty in particular peppered Crawford, which forced the lifelong Canadiens fan to make a number of incredible saves to keep the Blackhawks in the game. That doesn’t exclude Habs netminder Peter Budaj, however, as he had to make a number of saves, as well.
The Canadiens broke through in the third period. They got the puck to the net and Dale Weise slotted the puck home. But Jeremy Morin, who may be giving head coach Joel Quenneville a tough choice — if Morin’s not a regular either in the playoffs and/or next year, there’s something seriously wrong with the team’s management — scored to tie the game, his fourth point in as many games. However, the Canadiens scored just twenty seconds later on a laser by Francis Bouillon. Marian Hossa scored with just seconds left and then Patrick Sharp ended the game when his shot hit Budaj awkwardly and bounced into the net.
It goes without saying that the Hawks are still impressive to be winning without Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (even though both should be back by the playoffs). Les Habs played exceptionally well defensively until both teams suffered a defensive lapse in the third. Heck, the whole game was played pretty clean with just two penalties, both of them against Les Habs. Heck, this overtime win was impressive. The Hawks were winless in OT until tonight, and they got a gorilla of their backs.
The Hawks are gaining momentum — much needed momentum — for the playoffs. Forget the last calendar year. The Hawks will have to keep playing the same way they’ve been playing for the past four games in the final two. Winning a game in overtime for the first time all year is a big step in the right direction.