Alex DeBrincat scored his first NHL goal, and the Blackhawks got additional tallies from Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov in a 3-1 victory over host Montreal on Tuesday.
Corey Crawford was flat-out brilliant as he turned away 41 straight shots after allowing a goal on the first attempt he saw.
Crawford has stopped 101 of 104 shots this season for a .971 save percentage and he owns a sparkling 1.00 goals-against average.
"Man, he was big," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. "They were loading up with traffic and he challenged them. And the loose stuff, he seemed to be quick and he was ready for the next one. … I think he likes it here."
Said Crawford, who is now 8-0-2 against his hometown team and 3-0-0 on the season: "Friends and family were here, so I was pretty excited to come here and play. That was another big win for us in this building. They came out flying."
That's for sure.
Outplayed, out-hustled and outworked for most of the first period, the Blackhawks managed to even the score when DeBrincat fired a laser past Carey Price at 17:53 of the first period after taking a feed from Patrick Sharp.
"You think about that moment your whole life and it finally comes true," said the 19-year-old DeBrincat.
Just 19 seconds later, the Hawks (3-0-1) made it 2-1 when a Saad-to-Richard Panik-to-Jonathan Toews-to-Saad passing play led to Saad's fifth goal of the young season.
With the Hawks on the power play, Anisimov made it 3-1 at 10:44 of the second period on another gorgeous passing play. Cody Franson zipped the puck to DeBrincat in the right slot, and the rookie quickly fed Anisimov, who was standing just outside the goal crease.
Montreal came out buzzing in the first half of the first period, outshooting the Hawks 14-3. The first shot came from Tomas Plekanec 75 seconds into the game and got past Crawford after a Ryan Hartman turnover.
"We were lucky it was 1-0 for as long as it was," Quenneville said. "Then we scored two quick ones … and I thought things settled down in the second and the third."
The Hawks' penalty killers were a big key to this victory as Montreal failed to score on 5 power-play chances. One of those was a 2-man advantage for 35 seconds early in the first period.
"We did a great job on that kill," Crawford said. "Took a lot of dangerous lanes away."
Tanner Kero, Gustav Forsling and Jan Rutta were especially impressive in thwarting scoring opportunities all night long.
"I thought (Rutta) was outstandings," Quenneville said.
The Hawks return home to face Minnesota on Thursday and Nashville on Saturday.