Corey Crawford took a seat from the Chicago Blackhawks bench. This was Scott Darling’s game. And, facing one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, he backstopped his team to a thrilling victory over the host New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Darling made 25 saves — and he had some luck, too — to record his first career NHL shutout, as the Blackhawks defeated the Rangers by a final score of 1-0. Brad Richards, bought out by the Rangers last June, scored the winning goal before the midway point of the third period, just seconds after New York defenseman Dan Boyle hit the cross bar at the other end.
Andrew Desjardins had an assist on the Richards goal, marking his first point with the Blackhawks since joining that team at the trade deadline.
Earlier in the game, the Rangers appeared to open the scoring, but the goal was waved off after the whistle went to stop play, even though Darling never appeared to have full control of the puck.
After two periods of tightly played hockey, the Blackhawks managed to break through in the third. They had 17 shots on New York goalie Cam Talbot in the final 20 minutes, compared to just 10 for the Rangers.
The Blackhawks have been on quite a roll since the start of March.
They’ve won six of seven games this month, and four straight, and are now three points back of St. Louis for top spot in the Central Division.
They’re also three points back of a four-way tie between Anaheim, St. Louis, New York Rangers and Montreal for top spot in the NHL.
How quickly things can change in hockey.
The New York Rangers were so close to opening the scoring in the third period, when Dan Boyle ripped a wrist shot right off the cross bar. Just 15 seconds later, Brad Richards gave the Chicago Blackhawks the lead at the other end.
Richards, who the Rangers bought out last June, walked out from behind the net and went top corner with a wrist shot of his own on Cam Talbot.
Tonight, NBCSN has a crucial Pacific Division match-up, as the Anaheim Ducks host their rivals, the L.A. Kings, at the Honda Center. With a win, the Kings can maintain their third-place position in the division, but they would move just one point back of second-place Vancouver. You can catch the game on TV, or online using NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.
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For the second time this month, Nazem Kadri has had to accept punishment for a transgression.
First, he ran afoul of the rules of his own team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, which resulted in a three-game ban and Brendan Shanahan stating publicly the young forward had to “grow up.”
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old Kadri received another suspension, this time from the National Hockey League. It’s a four-game suspension for a head shot on Edmonton’s Matt Fraser.
Kadri also forfeits $141,463.41 in salary because of the incident.
On Wednesday, Kadri reacted to the league’s suspension, saying he tried to avoid the hit.
“There’s not much I can do, I mean I felt I did everything I did what I could (to avoid the hit) you never want to see stuff like that happen,” said Kadri, as per the club’s website. “I hope he is alright and he gets back to (100 per cent). I think it was pretty obvious that I felt pretty bad about it after the situation.
“It’s obviously hard to deal with.
“I’m not going to sit here and whine about it. I’m going to come back to work and be professional, no matter if I’m on the sidelines, on the ice or in the dressing room.”
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The New York Rangers appeared to open the scoring versus the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, however a quick whistle meant officials had to call off the goal.
Dominic Moore knocked the loose puck into the net, past Scott Darling, but a replay shows the whistle had already gone. The loose puck bounced around in Darling’s crease, and the goalie went to cover it, but never appeared to have full control of the puck when Moore found it and shoveled it into the net.