Chicago 1, Boston 0
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, January 20, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Scott Darling and Marian Hossa figured out a way to make their fathers happy Friday night. With the Chicago dads in attendance, Darling stopped 30 shots for his second shutout of the season and Hossa scored the game’s only goals with 1:26 left to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 victory over the slumping Boston Bruins in an Original Six matchup.
The win concluded a perfect 2-0 trip for the Chicago pops.
“We got four points out of two games, which is beautiful,” the younger Hossa said after scoring the 516th goal of his career, but his first in his last 11 games.
The dads, decked out in white Blackhawks jerseys, greeted their sons with applause in the TD Garden hallway as the players emerged from the locker room.
Hossa took a pass from Tanner Kero that went through the legs of defenseman Adam McQuaid and then easily beat Tuukka Rask for his 17th of the season. Boston’s Ruiley Nash was late on the back check.
On the first leg of the trip, Hossa had three assists in a 6-4 victory at Colorado, putting him over 500 goals and 600 assists, the 32nd player in NHL history to do that.
Friday night, he bagged his fifth game winner of the season
Boston’s third straight loss came with the team reeling after blowing two three-goal leads in Detroit Wednesday night — and with storm clouds gathering above the head of coach Claude Julien.
Julien, asked about his job security after the game, ended his press conference by saying, “I’m not into shock journalism, so I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”
The Bruins (23-20-6) have lost 14 games by one goal, including extra-time defeats.
Darling, who stopped 17 shots in the first period, was making his first start since Jan. 6 for the Blackhawks (29-14-5) — coach Joel Quenneville wanting him to start in front of his father while also providing a rest for a struggling Corey Crawford. Darling was outstanding in the first two periods but had to make just five saves in the third in finishing off his fourth career shutout.
“I don’t know if you guys know who my goalie partner is, but he’s one of the best goalies in the world, hands down, no arguments,” he said of Crawford.
“I’m just pretty happy to get any games I can.”
Said coach Joel Quenneville: “He certainly helped himself in a big way today with a big game and a big 60 minutes; because that first 20 he kept us in the game.”
Rask, who made 21 saves, was bidding for his sixth shutout of the season when Vinnie Hinostroza started the play in the Boston zone by getting the puck to Kero. Hossa then scored, to the delight of the large numbers of Blackhawks’ fans in the stands — and to the team’s fathers.
The Bruins fell to just 10-12-0 on home ice, where they have lost two straight and been shut out in both.
Julien shook up his lines a bit and the new units played well, piling up those 17 shots in the first period. But Darling, a former University of Maine goaltender, was sharp right from the start. He had 25 saves through two periods and was helped by the post on a Ryan Spooner shot with 1:05 left in the first. He made a big save on Spooner in the third.
“I thought I had him beat there,” Spooner said. “That’s one with five or six minutes left that has to go in the net.”
The Bruins played a strong game for two periods but were in a shell in the third.
“Well at the end of the night it is another loss and that’s the biggest thing,” said Julien. “Did your team play fairly well? I think so.”
NOTES: Bruins LW Matt Beleskey returned after missing 23 games with a knee injury. … The biggest cheer of the first two periods came when a “Go Patriots” video played on the big board. … The Bruins came in averaging 3.38 goals per game over the last eight games after scoring 2.33 goals over the first 40, but have scored two goals or less in 28 games this season. … Chicago C Marcus Kruger, out since Dec. 30 with an upper body injury, is nearing a return. “We’ll get him in before the (next weekend’s) All-Star break,” said coach Joel Quenneville said, who hoped to have an update after the game but didn’t. … The Blackhawks open a three-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. The Bruins are at Pittsburgh Sunday, the first of two games in five nights between the teams. The Penguins are 19-2-2 at home this season. … The Bruins were still missing injured Ds Colin Miller and Kevan Miller.