Crawford, Blackhawks blank Flyers 3-0
CHICAGO (AP) While the Chicago Blackhawks work on their power play and coach Joel Quenneville searches for the right combinations for his lineup, at least they have Corey Crawford in goal.
Crawford made 35 saves in his first shutout of the season, and the Blackhawks stopped a three-game slide with a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
”Crow was outstanding,” Quenneville said. ”We gave them some real serious looks and he was outstanding.”
Artem Anisimov and Jonathan Toews scored 20 seconds apart in the second and Crawford took over from there, helping Chicago kill off three Philadelphia power plays in the last half of the game. Rookie Alex DeBrincat added an empty-net goal with 1:49 left in Crawford’s 22nd career shutout.
Brian Elliott made 32 stops for Philadelphia, which was coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to lowly Arizona on Monday. The Flyers have dropped four of five heading into Thursday night’s game at Central Division-leading St. Louis.
”I thought we had really good effort from everybody in the lineup,” coach Dave Hakstol said. ”I can’t find one guy who was below par. Just offensively, we didn’t have anything to show for it.”
Chicago had dropped five of six, prompting Quenneville to juggle his lines and defensive pairings in search of a spark. Quenneville also had his team do sprints at the end of practice on Tuesday after he grew frustrated with the effort by the players.
The Blackhawks responded with a workmanlike effort while improving to 4-2-1 at home.
”We just have to build off that,” Crawford said. ”We’ve been playing well. Some tough losses in those games, and it’s nice to get one.”
Chicago came up empty on its first four power plays before Anisimov delivered in the second. With Brandon Manning in the box for holding Ryan Hartman, the rugged center skated behind the Flyers’ penalty killers and slammed home a rebound for a 1-0 lead at 8:58.
Anisimov’s fourth goal of the season was the Blackhawks’ first successful power play since Richard Panik scored at Arizona on Oct. 21. They were unsuccessful in their previous 18 chances.
”I think that turned out to be a big goal for us,” Quenneville said. ”Our first couple power plays had some decent looks and as far as doing the right thing on that one, I mean get it to the net, you’ve got traffic at the net, get the rebound, and get rewarded.”
Philadelphia defenseman Robert Hagg then mishandled the puck near the blue line and Toews skated in alone on Elliott. The captain slipped a backhander between the goaltender’s legs for his first goal since Oct. 12 against Minnesota, stopping a seven-game drought.
That was more than enough for Crawford, who came up with a couple of big plays as Philadelphia pressed for a score in the third. He made his best save of the night with 1:45 left in the first, doing the splits to get over for a pad stop on Valtteri Filppula’s wraparound.
”We had quality chances, and so many times the puck was just laying there and Crawford found a way to make the save,” Flyers forward Claude Giroux said. ”He’s pretty good.”
NOTES: Flyers D Radko Gudas suffered an upper-body injury in the first. Hakstol had no update after the game. … Chicago D Connor Murphy had a huge hit on Philadelphia forward Taylor Leier in the first, and then got into a fight with Flyers forward Scott Laughton. Murphy’s father, Gord, is an assistant coach for Philadelphia. … The Blackhawks and Flyers play again on Nov. 9 in Philadelphia, finishing their two-game season series.
Flyers: Visit St. Louis on Thursday night.
Blackhawks: Visit Minnesota on Saturday night.
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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap