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updated: 10/23/2013 5:45 AM

Hawks' Crawford saves the day in 3-2 win over Panthers

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  • Florida Panthers' Jonathan Hueberdeau (11) slides into the goal and watches game action with Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday in Sunrise, Fla.

      Florida Panthers' Jonathan Hueberdeau (11) slides into the goal and watches game action with Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday in Sunrise, Fla.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Blackhawks might still have their issues offensively, but there's nothing wrong with the way they're playing defense.

Not with Corey Crawford in goal.

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Crawford made a huge stop against Jonathan Huberdeau on a penalty shot in the second period and 20 other saves as the Hawks beat Florida 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday night.

Crawford stopped Huberdeau again in the shootout along with Brad Boyes, while Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored for the Hawks. Sharp's goal was the clincher.

Crawford's right-pad stop on Huberdeau on the penalty shot came at 9:24 of the second period with the Hawks ahead 1-0. Huberdeau was awarded the shot when Michal Handzus pulled down the reigning rookie of the year on a breakaway.

"I was just trying to get out and get the gap," Crawford told reporters. "He's got a really quick first move, and I kind of bit a little bit on it. I think he actually had me on the backhand, but then he went back to the forehand and I was able to get the pad on it right at the post there."

Crawford now is 6-for-6 in his career on stopping penalty shots.

"I think I had him," Huberdeau said. "It almost worked, but Crawford is a good goalie and he read it well.

"I should have went backhand. It would have changed the game."

The save happened more than four minutes after Toews put the Hawks ahead 1-0 on a power play. Toews got behind defenseman Erik Gudbranson and redirected a pass from Duncan Keith to beat goalie Tim Thomas for his third goal of the season.

Bryan Bickell made it 2-0 at 16:49 when he beat Thomas for his second goal in as many games after going the first seven without one.

"(Hawks coach Joel Quenneville) mixed the lines up last game, and it sparked some guys," Bickell told Blackhawks.com. "The first one is the hardest one to get."

Quenneville feels the Hawks are more balanced with Bickell playing on the third line with Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw than on the top line. "With him, he was probably feeling the pressure," Quenneville told reporters.

The Panthers got third-period goals less than three minutes apart from Tomas Fleischmann and Dmitry Kulikov to send the game to overtime, where it was all Hawks.

Both Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane had chances to win it in overtime but couldn't beat Jacob Markstrom, who relieved Thomas with 2:59 left in regulation when Thomas pulled a groin muscle. Thomas was in his third start since missing four games with a groin injury.

The Hawks are 6-1-2 for the season, with Crawford going 5-1-2.

On the down side it now has been eight games since the Hawks scored a goal in the third period. Quenneville is concerned, but not too much considering the Hawks' record.

"I thought it was encouraging that we got 2 points out of the game," Quenneville told reporters. "We had a 2-0 lead and they get 2 goals and there's a lot of time left, but I thought we stabilized the game at that point and found a way to get 2 at the end.

"We're having trouble scoring in the third period, but I don't think we're playing any different than we did in the first two periods. We're sitting on leads, but we're not complaining, let's put it that way."

•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.

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