Chicago Blackhawks rookie left winger, Alexandre Fortin, netted his first career game-winning goal Thursday night when forward Nick Schmaltz waited out the Rangers defense before sending a cross-crease pass to Fortin who tapped the puck into the wide-open net, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead with 9:27 to go in the second period.
Earlier, the Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Rangers defensemen, Brady Skjei and Adam McQuaid collided trying to close in on Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews at the blue line leading to an easy breakaway goal for the captain. The Rangers quickly tied the game 1-1 when forward Pavel Buchnevich slapped home a rebound that deflected wide passed Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Despite giving up the early goal, Crawford came back strong stopping 18 of 19 shots in just his third game back since missing nearly all of the ’17-’18 season. In four starts this season, Crawford has .946 save percentage and 1.52 goals against average.
“Great all-around game.” Crawford said. “We played really well defensively. We didn’t give em’ that much and we just stuck with it the whole game and we got another key goal in the third period.”
The Blackhawks defense was solid throughout killing off two penalties and allowing just one shot on goal in the third period.
The key goal Crawford spoke of came off the stick of Patrick Kane as he crashed the net collecting a pass from Artem Anisimov. Kane was blanketed by Ranger’s defenseman Brandon Smith and the goal was originally disallowed due to goaltender interference but was overturned by evidence of Smith pushing Kane into the pad of Lundqvist.
The goal was Kane’s ninth in ten games. With it, he became the first Blackhawk with nine goals in his first ten games since Jeremy Roenick did it in the ’93-’94 season.
Finally with the extra attacker on for the Rangers, Blackhawks rookie Dominic Kahun delivered a pass up ice to Alex Debrincat who sent a wrist shot from outside the blue line into the empty net, giving the Blackhawks a 4-1 victory.
The Blackhawks will look to secure their third consecutive win Saturday night in St. Louis when they battle the Blues.