How it happened: With the game tied at 2-2 in the second period, Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus scored the winner when he cleaned up a rebound in front of the net off a Duncan Keith shot. The Blackhawks were in control for nearly all of the first period and went ahead 2-0 thanks to goals by Joakim Nordstrom and Jonathan Toews. Nordstrom’s goal was the first of his NHL career. As much as the Islanders struggled early, they owned the final minute of the opening period. They evened the game with a goal by Josh Bailey with 55 seconds left in the period and another by Kyle Okposo with five seconds remaining. The Blackhawks kept the Islanders off the board the rest of the way. Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made his season debut and stopped 17 of 19 shots.
What it means: The Blackhawks felt like they squandered points in their previous two games with collapses in the third period. They held strong in the third period on Friday and pulled out the one-goal win. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville toyed with his lines throughout the game. Among the notable changes, he demoted Bryan Bickell from the top line to the third line and made Andrew Shaw the second-line center and Handzus the fourth-line center. The Blackhawks improved to 2-1-1 on the season.
Star of the game: Toews had one of his usual all-around games. He scored a goal, had a game-high seven shots on goal, was 16-for-23 on faceoffs and had one takeaway.
Stat of the game: The Blackhawks took 69 total shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots), compared to the Islanders’ 39 shots.
What’s next: The Blackhawks will play again at home Saturday, against the Buffalo Sabres. It will be the first of 18 sets of back-to-backs for Chicago this season.