(Photo: NHL Youtube)

It almost seemed unfair–New Jersey Devils‘ rookie goaltender Keith Kinkaid against Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews and Mr. Showtime Patrick Kane in the shootout.

 

 

But, Kinkaid’s prowess in his first NHL start was a major factor in the Devils’ one point earned from the regulation tie before Kane’s goal gave Chicago their seventh consecutive win–nine out of the last 10.

Patrick Sharp made his return from the long-term injured reserve and Scott Darling tended goal in for injured Corey Crawford as the previously hot Blackhawks struggled versus a competitive New Jersey team at the Prudential Center Monday.

Neither team could take advantage of a power play–with Chicago going 0/3 and New Jersey 0/1.

New Jersey had the Blackhawks’ game down pat, shutting down prime scoring opportunities from the start. The Hawks led the Devils 39-24 in shots on goal, with Chicago defense blocking eight and the Devils blocking 17.

No one tallied in overtime, leading to the shootout, when Darling stopped Marty Havlat and Jaromir Jagr, while Kinkaid was unable to stop Toews and Kane.

Hossa and the Hawks Get Their Groove Back in Nashville

Despite a campaign to “keep the red out,” the red jerseys and “Let’s go, Hawks” chants gave the Blackhawks a home advantage feel when they played the Nashville Predators Saturday–and Hossa scored two goals in their 3-1 victory. The Blackhawks also reclaimed first in the Central Division.

Nashville outshot Chicago 33-31 and outhit them 23-7. The Blackhawks were 0/2 on the power play while the Predators were 0/1. Despite this, Darling was able to hold off the Predators and the Hawks were able to maintain a lead through regulation.

‘Haappy’ Saad Sends Hawks Over Habs in Last Seconds

The Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens battled through the final minute of regulation Dec. 5 in Chicago–leaving more than the standing room only crowd on its feet.

The Canadiens led 41-36 in shots on goal, 20-11 in blocked shots, and 19-15 in hits. Chicago was 1/5 on the power play and Montreal was 1/3, though their goal came when P.K. Subban scored after a questionable tripping call on Kane–ending a long-running penalty kill streak for Chicago.

Antti Raanta made 38 saves and Carey Price made 32 in the 4-3 game.

 

Hawks win

 

It was the Blackhawks’ second game back in Chicago following an extended road series known as the “Circus Trip,” and the team’s first sign of positive momentum this season.

The first was Wednesday night rivalry night.

Playing Chelsea Dagger for the Blues

To welcome Chicago fans, and the St. Louis Blues, back to the United Center, the Blackhawks carried out a 4-1 win.

Despite a 41-32 shots on goal deficit, the Blackhawks managed to find the back of the net three times more than the Blues–once again only faltering in the second period. The Blues were 0/6 on power plays while the Hawks were 0/3.

Despite repeated efforts, the Blues couldn’t catch up and the Hawks couldn’t set Kane up for the hat trick.

 

News and Nexts

Winger Jeremy Morin is with the Rockford IceHogs on a conditioning assignment, for a maximum two weeks, which allows him to play with the AHL team while avoiding being placed on waivers.

Crawford is out of his boot and on the ice again, but there’s no date set for his return. Darling is set to start Thursday at 6 p.m. CT against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Next, the Blackhawks play the New York Islanders at 6 p.m. CT Saturday and return home to face the Calgary Flames at 7 p.m. CT Sunday.

 

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Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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