Blackhawks Shut Out Islanders
(WSCR) – Before the Blackhawks and Islanders took the ice Sunday night, the ’61 Blackhawks team was honored. The night couldn’t have been more special than Chicago scoring five times and keeping the Islanders scoreless.
Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane scored in Chicago’s four-goal second period, leading the Blackhawks to a 5-0 victory over the road-weary New York Islanders on Sunday night.
Hossa also had two assists and Patrick Sharp, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Kane each finished with a goal and an assist as Chicago had its biggest offensive output since a 7-5 loss at Colorado on Dec. 13. Corey Crawford made 29 saves in his first shutout since March 5, 2008, against Anaheim.
The Blackhawks snapped a six-game losing streak against New York with their first victory over the Islanders since a 3-2 road win on Dec. 10, 2002.
New York completed its longest trip of the season – an 11-day itinerary that also included stops in Detroit, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado – with a 3-2-0 record. The Islanders were coming off a difficult 4-3 overtime victory over the Avalanche and looked tired in their last game before returning home.
Chicago honored its 1961 Stanley Cup championship team before the game, with team ambassadors Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita receiving two of the loudest ovations from the sellout crowd. That was the franchise’s last title before the Blackhawks beat Philadelphia in six games to win the Cup last year.
Even before that rousing pregame ceremony, coach Joel Quenneville talked openly about the need for the Blackhawks to pick up the pace early in the game and his team responded with a fast start in one of its best performances at home this season.
Sharp picked up his team-leading 25th goal and second in as many games as the Blackhawks outshot the Islanders 16-8 in the first. Sharp had 25 goals all of last season.
Chicago turned up the pressure in the second, with Hossa taking a pass from Tomas Kopecky and converting a wrister to make it 2-0 just 2:10 into the period. It was Hossa’s 10th goal of the season and just his second in eight games since returning from a lower body injury.
Kane scored his 13th goal five minutes later, completing a 3-on-2, and Dave Bolland and Hjalmarsson finished the scoring in the second. Bolland beat Nathan Lawson with a one-timer from the left circle with 3:36 left and Hjalmarsson’s shot in the final minute went off the post and in.
Hossa set up each of the last two goals as Chicago matched its highest scoring period of the season. The Blackhawks also scored four in the second in a 7-1 at Vancouver on Nov. 20.
Lawson finished with 40 stops for the Islanders, who dropped to 8-3-1 in their last 12 games and 9-11-3 under interim coach Jack Capuano.
Crawford made a couple of great saves to record his second career shutout. He stopped Michael Grabner on a breakaway 7 1/2 minutes into the first and made a nice pad save on Josh Bailey in the third.
NOTES: The Blackhawks also announced they will unveil bronze statues for Hull and Mikita outside the United Center early next season. … Islanders G Rick DiPietro (lower body) and C Frans Nielsen (groin) each missed their third consecutive game. Capuano said Nielsen is skating in practice and is day to day. He had no update on DiPietro. … Sharp now has 141 goals with the Blackhawks, snapping a tie with Ivan Boldriev and Alex Zhamnov for 26th on the franchise’s career list.
AP Sports Writer Jay Cohen contributed to this report.