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game recap

Blackhawks hold off Canadiens, move up standings

Chicago takes over first place in Central Division, Western Conference

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MONTREAL -- The Chicago Blackhawks moved into first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with a 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, Johnny Oduya scored the first of his return to the Blackhawks, and Artemi Panarin scored for a third straight game for Chicago (44-20-5), which has a one-point lead over the Minnesota Wild, who lost 4-2 to the Washington Capitals.

"We closed a nice little gap in the last two games with them and I think we'll keep trying to push ahead or stay ahead," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.


WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Canadiens highlights


Shea Weber got Montreal within 3-2 when he scored with 3:28 remaining in the third period. Jonathan Toews scored into an empty net with 1:22 left.

"We built ourselves a good lead there and they had a couple of plays where they get themselves back in the game, all of a sudden it's 3-2," Kane said. "So we want to be better in that situation, make sure we're shutting everything down, but we knew they were going to come with a push. It was nice to hold on there and finish the game and get the two points."

Corey Crawford made 40 saves, including a Weber slap shot in the second period that struck him squarely on the mask and knocked him back onto the ice.

"I didn't have any time to get out of the way," Crawford said. "It was a hard shot. A slow pass and I just tried to go out and take the angle away, and it's too bad he smoked me there."

Video: CHI@MTL: Crawford takes Weber's hard slapper off mask

Carey Price made 20 saves in his 500th NHL game for Montreal (39-23-8), which had won seven of eight. It has lost seven in a row to Chicago.

"The first game back from a road trip is always tough, and we faced one of the best teams in the League and I found the effort was there," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We didn't give up, but our execution wasn't sharp. We had a lot of shots on net but passes were often in the skates, things like that, and that maybe was the difference. Chicago's execution was a bit better than ours tonight."

Kane gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 12:23 of the first period. Oduya made it 2-0 at 10:49 of the second period with a slap shot from the left point. It was the second goal of the season for Oduya, who was traded to Chicago by the Dallas Stars on Feb. 28.

Kane assisted on Panarin's goal, which increased the lead to 3-0 47 seconds into the third period. Paul Byron made it 3-1 with 7:18 remaining.

Video: CHI@MTL: Weber one-times Galchenyuk's smart dish


Goal of the game

Nick Schmaltz, who centered Chicago's top line after Artem Anisimov was injured, snuck a look while retrieving Kane's pass along the left side and made a hard centering pass to Panarin, who was left open in the slot by Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin to shoot past Price.

Video: CHI@MTL: Panarin picks the corner for great finish


Save of the game

Crawford stuck out his left pad to make a save on Alex Galchenyuk's power-play shot to protect a 1-0 lead in the second period.


Highlight of the game

Anisimov spun around in the neutral zone to shield the puck from Emelin and carried it down the right side on his way to setting up Kane's goal. Anisimov curled toward the boards at the top of the right faceoff circle, drawing Emelin with him, and passed to Kane, who was unmarked and had an open lane for his shot past Price, which went in off the left post.

Video: CHI@MTL: Kane snipes one in off post to beat Price


Unsung performance of the game

Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn had two of his three blocked shots in the first period during Chicago's first power play, when he also checked Kane at the blue line to break up a zone entry.


They said it

"We had a lot of chances and we shut down a lot of second chances for them; a pretty solid game for us, and we carried some momentum here and it's a great win, especially in this building." -- Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford


"It would have been nice if I had been able to come up with a game-changing save, but you've got to give their guys credit, they buried their chances." -- Canadiens goalie Carey Price


"We're down to the wire here, down the stretch and in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] that's the difference between winning and losing. Pretty good effort tonight, we played pretty well, but a couple of mistakes there, and being able to limit those is the difference between winning and losing." -- Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty


Need to know

Anisimov left the game with a left leg injury sustained at the end of the first period. He was helped off the ice after falling awkwardly when he was checked by Canadiens right wing Alexander Radulov in the left corner of the Montreal zone. "It's not the serious kind, so we'll see how he does over the next few days," Quenneville said. … Price is 264-172-55 with Montreal since 2007-08 and third among Canadiens goalies in games (Jacques Plante, 556; Patrick Roy, 551).


What's next

Blackhawks: At the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: At the Ottawa Senators on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)


Video: Kane, Crawford power Hawks past Habs, 4-2

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