Blackhawks bid to ride momentum of 1st win vs. Jackets

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Fresh off their first victory of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks continue a seven-game homestand when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

Chicago, which opened the season with a 4-3 loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 4 in the NHL Global Series in Prague, Czech Republic, followed that up with one-goal losses to San Jose (5-4) and Winnipeg (3-2 in OT) in the Windy City. The team finally picked up its first win of the season on Monday night, a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Patrick Kane, Alexander Nylander and Brandon Saad each scored a goal and Corey Crawford stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced as the Blackhawks snapped the Oilers’ five-game winning streak. Chicago was playing in front of its 500th consecutive sellout crowd at the United Center.

“It’s a nice challenge for sure if someone is coming in undefeated or on a streak,” said Crawford, who also stopped a breakaway by Leon Draisaitl.

“It was just nice to get that first one and try and build off that. We played really well. I think everyone was going. Guys were coming back to help out defensively and (it was) a good team effort.”

“We did a lot of winning things,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We were clean with the puck. I thought our support, we really found a way to get available. We were heavy on the puck. So, a lot of 50-50 situations where we were under pressure, we didn’t allow ourselves to get stripped, we just kept moving it ahead. We won the lines. We got deep. We charged in the offensive zone multiple times. We had great forecheck pressure. We had great back pressure.

“All of these things are just little ingredients, but when you do them shift in and shift out you really build momentum.”

Columbus comes in off back-to-back 3-2 wins over Carolina and Dallas. Joonas Korpisalo had 30 saves in Wednesday’s victory over the Stars but it was Sonny Milano’s highlight-reel goal midway through the third period that was the hot topic afterward.

Milano broke in on the left side of the zone, split a pair of Dallas defenders and then unleashed a between-the-legs snap shot that beat Ben Bishop on the far side.

“It was the best angle to get on net and it went in,” a modest Milano said with a smile. “I was thinking backhand but (decided to go) through the legs.”

Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella was watching a replay in the media room during his postgame press conference when he was asked his opinion of the goal.

“Well, it’s just … look at it,” Tortorella said. “I’m watching it right now. It’s ridiculous.”

Korpisalo told the Columbus Dispatch that he wasn’t surprised by Milano’s goal after facing him in practice.

“He’s really good at that stuff, you know,” Korpisalo said. “He’s really crafty sometimes. I have no idea what he’s doing and then he pulls off something like that. I was like, ‘No way.’ Top shelf. I was like, ‘Wow.’ “

–Field Level Media

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