Blackhawks win again in dramatic fashion
Steve Lundyemail@example.com Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad celebrates with Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus after Saad's 3rd period goal during their opening-day-game Tuesday at the United Center in Chicago.
One thing the Blackhawks didn't forget over the summer was how to do the dramatic.
On a night their second Stanley Cup banner in four years was raised to the rafters at the United Center, the Hawks staged a third period comeback for a 6-4 victory in a back-and-forth game with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
Johnny Oduya's goal with 6:07 to play snapped a 4-4 tie and made a winner out of goalie Corey Crawford, who came up huge late during a 5-on-3 Capitals power play.
The Caps had 1:26 of a 5-on-3 starting at 16:27, but the Hawks stood firm behind Crawford and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who had 2 key blocked shots.
The Hawks seemingly refuse to do anything the easy way.
"We try to," Oduya said. "But they're a good team, especially on the power play. They have unbelievable skill, and it's just tough to kill those penalties. Some things we might have to look over a little bit and adjust."
The Capitals, who led the NHL on the power play last year, got 3 power-play goals, which is why the Hawks were sweating it out after Patrick Sharp and Crawford drew back-to-back penalties with 16:27 to play -- Sharp's for goaltender interference and Crawford's for delay of game.
"We avoided what could have been a disaster," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Crow made some big stops and we got through it."
The Capitals called a timeout, allowing the Hawks to regroup before the 5-on-3 started.
"They have two big shooters on top (in Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green), and basically we didn't want to give them that," Oduya said. "We gave them a couple, but Crow stopped them and Hammer blocked a few."
The Hawks got goals from Brandon Bollig, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook on a power play and Brandon Saad to make a winner out of Crawford.
Saad's goal at 7:55 of the third period made it 4-4. The second-year winger also had 2 assists.
Mikhail Grabovski had 3 goals and an assist for the Capitals.
Two of his goals came on power plays with Ovechkin netting the third.
The game was tied on four different occasions before Oduya made it 5-4.
Marian Hossa was awarded the sixth goal automatically in the last minute when Green pulled him down from behind on a clean breakaway with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby pulled for a sixth attacker.
Despite the Hawks' offensive explosion, the game still came down to the last 3:33, when the Caps had their 5-on-3.
"I think we gave up to many PK goals, but when it came down to it at the end we were able to kill it off," Crawford said.
"We got some big blocks and some good pressure to clear the zone. Our guys were amazing at the end there on the 5-on-3."
Only four minutes after the stirring banner-raising ceremony, the Hawks got a goal from an unlikely source in Bollig.
Bollig got his first regular- season goal of his career at 4:06 of the first period when he flipped a Hjalmarsson rebound past Holtby.
The lead lasted until 10:42, when reigning MVP Ovechkin snapped a shot past Crawford from the left side on a power play.
Kane put the Hawks back ahead 24 seconds later when he roofed a shot past Holtby to the short side from inside the right circle.
Washington made it 2-2 on a goal by Grabovski at 10:30 of the second period, but a power-play goal by Seabrook at 14:32 made it 3-2.
Seabrook had an open net from the left side and didn't miss after Holtby stopped Hossa in tight.
A second Capitals power-play goal by Grabovski 59 seconds into the third period created the third tie of the night.
"It was a crazy game, but it's nice to have the win," Saad said.
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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