Hockey may be among our most excitable sports. But a big key to the Blackhawks’ success is their unflappability.
They demonstrated that again in their 4-0 victory over Toronto, their 11th win in their last 13 games (11-1-1).
Their hearts were heavy due to the shocking death of assistant equipment manager Clint Reif. They were missing center Brad Richards (upper body), and plugging in backup Antti Raanta, who not long ago seemed to be in danger of losing his job to Scott Darling.
So what did the Hawks do?
The Hawks bided their time early, then used a couple of quick strikes for a 2-0 lead en route to their eighth straight win at home.
Raanta made 31 saves to record his third career shutout, his second this season.
With Richards sidelined, coach Joel Quenneville put three wingers together, dropping Patrick Sharp into Richards’ slot with Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg. They were on the ice for the Hawks’ first two goals.
Defenseman David Rundblad nailed a near-side slapshot at 15:30 for a 1-0 Hawks lead while Sharp screened Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer.
Versteeg then pumped in a buzzer-beating wrister from Kane in the final second of the firs to make it 2-0.
Kane added a power play goal in the third, his 16th to finish with a goal and two assists. Sharp had three assists. Jonathan Toews scored the Hawks’ final goal.
Rundblad’s goal was his first of the season, and the second of his career.