Blackhawks beat Canadiens in clash of conference leaders

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In a match between the top team in the East and the top team in the West, the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Sunday.

Of course, it’s early. And the deck was stacked against the Habs to some extent.

Chicago needed this more

If you’re going to beat the Canadiens (now 13-2-1) this season, you’re going to do it with the Habs on the road and Al Montoya in net. Those factors were in the Blackhawks’ favor on Sunday, as was rest: Chicago last played on Friday while Montreal throttled Detroit 5-0 on Saturday.

So, yeah, the Blackhawks “should” have won this game.

This was also far more crucial to the Blackhawks, and not for deep psychological reasons.

The Blackhawks begin a seven-game road trip (and will play eight of nine away from the United Center) on Tuesday while the Canadiens hope to keep their robust home-ice advantage going with four of their next five in Montreal.

Two hot teams

This isn’t to take¬†too much away from the Blackhawks, of course.

They’ve been fantastic lately, as they’re now on an 11-game point streak (9-0-2). After starting with two regulation losses, they’ve generated a point in all but one of their last 14 contests (11-1-2).

That probably counts as “almost as hot as the Canadiens,” and now they have the bragging rights against the young upstarts.

We’ll have to wait until March 14 to see these two teams play again. If they’re once more on top of their respective conferences, it could be an even bigger treat than this early appetizer ended up being.

And it was pretty sweet: