Just when the Blackhawks needed goaltender Corey Crawford to put up his best effort the most, he topped himself by posting his fourth shutout of the season. That equals the number that Cristobal Huet had last year in the Hawks’ Stanley Cup winning season. The Blackhawks’ win moved them to 88 points and a three-way tie for fifth place in the NHL’s Western Conference. The Blackhawks won 4-0.
Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook each scored a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who are in the thick of the wild Western Conference playoff race with nine games left. In addition, Viktor Stalberg and Tomas Kopecky also scored goals for the Blackhawks, who had 31 shots off Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun.
The win put the Blackhawks one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and into a three-way tie with the Kings and Predators. That sets up a key match at the United Center on Saturday with the Ducks; it’s the only one of those nine remaining games where the Hawks will face a team that’s in the Western playoff scrum. Should be a wild ride to the finish.