CHICAGO — Corey Crawford and the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks can play some stingy defence, too.
Crawford made 26 saves in his NHL-leading sixth shutout this season to lead the Blackhawks past the Ottawa Senators 3-0 on Sunday night for their third straight win.
Duncan Keith and Artem Anisimov scored for Chicago, which got an empty-net goal from Andrew Desjardins with 48 seconds left.
Crawford wasn’t challenged consistently, but he was sharp when needed in earning his 18th career shutout in his 300th game.
“He was solid,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “He wasn’t tested early, but sporadically they came at him. Certainly, he’s been doing a good job for us.”
The skaters in front of Crawford stifled the Senators for much of the night, too. Loaded with skill on offence, the Blackhawks blocked 24 shots and got a little lucky as Ottawa fired wide 15 times — including a couple of strikes off the post and crossbar.
“That was important, to keep the puck away from those guys, get puck possession, because (the Senators) are a pretty fast and skilled team, good on the rush,” Crawford said. “It was just a solid win for us at home.”
Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots, but the Senators lost their third straight and fifth in their last six. Ottawa also was blanked for the second straight game, following a 3-0 loss at home to New Jersey on Wednesday.
“If we play the 60 minutes the right way and you get 12-14 chances like we did tonight, there’s not going to be many nights when guys aren’t finding a way to put one in,” Senators forward Bobby Ryan said. “We’ve got to find a way out of the funk.”
The Blackhawks, who have won six of eight, avenged a 4-3 overtime loss at Ottawa on Dec. 3.
Crawford came up with the toughest save in the choppy, scoreless first period when he stopped Alex Chiasson’s point-blank deflection of Mika Zibanejad’s shot from the slot.
Keith opened the scoring at 8:13 of the second on a screened drive from the left point that sailed past Anderson’s blocker with Marian Hossa and Jean-Gabriel Pageau jostling in front.
“They’ve got a lot of firepower on their team up front and guys who can join the play on the back end, so we wanted to make them play defence. I thought we did a good job of that,” Keith said.
Crawford was alert — and made a handful of tough stops — to keep it scoreless. He robbed Max McCormick, who was wide open at the edge of the crease, with a quick blocker save with about 2 minutes left in the second.
Anisimov swatted in a rebound at 6:01 of the second to extend Chicago’s lead to 2-0. Anderson stopped Michal Rozsival’s shot from the left circle, but the puck rolled up Anderson’s chest, then dropped to the ice and right to Anisimov, who was open at the edge of the crease.
“You’re never going to limit that team,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said. “There’s just too much talent there.
“But I think we did a real good job of not feeding the fire.”
During the game, the Blackhawks announced they acquired Richard Panik from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Jeremy Morin in a swap of minor league forwards. Panik has 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 33 games with the AHL Toronto Marlies, and Morin has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 28 games with Rockford of the AHL.
NOTES: In a pregame video tribute, the Blackhawks honoured NHL leading scorer Patrick Kane for his franchise-record 26-game point streak this season. His run, extending from Oct. 17 through Dec. 13, set a new mark for an American-born player. Neither Kane nor GM Stan Bowman, who presented the player with a gold puck, addressed the crowd of 22,016. . Kane has been held without a point only five times in 40 games this season. . The Blackhawks loaned D David Rundblad to the ZSC Lions of Switzerland’s National League. Rundblad had been assigned to Rockford of the AHL last week. . Ottawa’s healthy scratches were D Jared Cowen and F Dave Dziurzynski. Chicago’s were D Rob Scuderi and F Brandon Mashinter.