Chicago Blackhawks' 5 Most Impressive Individual Performances in 2013-14
The Chicago Blackhawks are loaded with superstars. Head coach Joel Quenneville's ability to get his team to play cohesively is a big reason why this team won the Stanley Cup last year and has won two of the league's last four championships.
Ego often gets sublimated on championship teams, but every once in a while, individual performances will stand out.
In this piece, we look at the five best individual performances that the Blackhawks have delivered this year.
Patrick Kane Leads Blackhawks Past Flames
Date: November 27, 2013
Results: Chicago 3, Calgary 2
Patrick Kane Stats: Two goals, including game-winner.
He put his skills on display in a game at Calgary in late November. The hosts came out with their best effort and had a 2-0 lead midway through the third period. However, Kane got the Blackhawks on the board with a hard wrist shot that deflected off the stick of Flames defenseman Kris Russell and got past goalie Reto Berra.
While that goal was a bit on the lucky side, it turned the momentum in the game around, and the Blackhawks took the game to Calgary. Patrick Sharp tied the game shortly thereafter.
Chicago continued to pressure Calgary and it paid off when Kane scored the winner with 18 seconds left in the game. He gathered in a Niklas Hjalmarsson shot while stationed at the side of the net and calmly fired a backhander past Berra for a game-winner.
Kane's skill at being able to score on a sharp backhander and his ability to remain calm at the most crucial moment made this performance notable.
Corey Crawford Blanks High-Flying Ducks
Date: February 5, 2015
Results: Chicago 2, Anaheim 0
Corey Crawford Stats: 29 saves
Analysis: The Ducks had the best record in the NHL at the time, and they had been particularly strong on home ice. The Blackhawks were on a West Coast trip and had dropped five of their previous seven games.
They were decided underdogs at Anaheim, but Crawford showed off his quickness and anticipation in keeping the Ducks off the board. Crawford was at his best in the first period when the Ducks fired 15 shots at him and he turned them all aside.
Many of those shots were from close in and the Ducks could have seized control of the game, but Crawford would not let them.
'Sharp' Passing Leads Chicago Past Dallas
Date: November 9, 2013
Results: Chicago 5, Dallas 2
Patrick Sharp Stats: Four assists
Analysis: Patrick Sharp is one of the best sharpshooters in the game. When the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone and he has time and space, it's likely to end up in the back of the net.
He has already scored 30 goals this season and he has reached that level four times in his career. However, Sharp put on his own Wayne Gretzky impression when the Blackhawks played at Dallas in early November.
Sharp delivered picture-perfect passes throughout the game and ended up with four assists. It demonstrated Sharp's all-around play and versatility. He showed that he could set up his teammates as well as bury the puck in the back of the net.
Jonathan Toews Dominates in the Snow
Date: March 1, 2014
Results: Chicago 5, Pittsburgh 1
Jonathan Toews Stats: Two goals, one assist
Analysis: The Chicago Blackhawks had a huge stage when they took on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last of this season's Stadium Series games at Soldier Field.
While the visiting Penguins never looked comfortable in the snowy conditions, the Blackhawks skated hard and took the game to the Penguins throughout the night at the home of the Chicago Bears.
Nobody was better than Toews, as he took over the game and dominated with two goals and one assist. Toews made a spectacular forehand-backhand shift and put the puck past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. The Blackhawks were never seriously challenged after that, and Toews added another goal in the third period.
The Blackhawks' best player led the way for them on the sport's biggest stage.
Sharp's Hat Trick Overwhelms Avs
Date: December 27, 2013
Results: Chicago 7, Colorado 2
Sharp Stats: Three goals, one assist
Analysis: Patrick Sharp has been one of the best goal scorers in the league throughout the season, and he was on top of his game when the upstart Colorado Avalanche came to the United Center in late December.
While the Avs would dominate the season series—beating the Blackhawks in four of five games—the Blackhawks would have their way in this game. Sharp led the way by scoring three goals and one assist.
Sharp had his hat trick early in the second period. He scored on a wrist shot midway through the first period and added his second goal on a slap shot in the final minute of the first period when the Blackhawks were on the power play.
He completed his three-goal performance with a backhander 27 seconds into the second period when he picked up a Niklas Hjalmarsson rebound and jammed it past Avs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Sharp would finish off his stellar effort when he got the primary assist on a Jonathan Toews goal less than eight minutes later.