CHICAGO -- Derick Brassard has experienced plenty of stinging defeats at United Center, dating back to when he was a center for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He got a taste of the opposite emotion on Sunday.
Brassard's slap shot from the left circle 32 seconds into overtime beat Corey Crawford to the short side and gave the New York Rangers a 1-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"When I walked in the building today, that was the first reaction I had," Brassard said, referring to his time with the Blue Jackets, who used to play in the Central Division. "I was like, 'Oh boy, I've had some tough nights here.' Our group here, though, we really enjoy coming into some buildings on the road and having some good tests."
The Blackhawks (39-21-6) had won four of their previous five games and were hoping to pull closer to the St. Louis Blues for second in the Central Division. The Rangers (40-17-7) are now 16-4-2 in their past 22 games and one point back of the New York Islanders for first in the Metropolitan Division.
The game they played Sunday reflected those developments. It was filled with action and dominated by great goaltending. Crawford made 35 saves and has allowed a total of four goals in his past four starts. New York's Cam Talbot made 29 saves for his fifth shutout and eighth of his career.
Talbot is 10-2-2 with two shutouts in 14 games since starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck on Feb. 2.
"It's two good teams going at it, fighting for big points right now," Talbot said. "They're trying to climb spots in their division, same as we are, so it's going to be a battle going down the stretch against teams like that. Every point is huge right now, so it was great we came out with the extra one tonight."
The Blackhawks can thank Crawford for the point they earned. They were outshot 36-29, which included 16-8 in the first period and 14-8 in the third. Chicago controlled the second with a 12-5 advantage in shots, but couldn't beat Talbot despite two power plays.
"[We] did a good job tonight pouring back, taking away their transition game and really making them take shots that they don't want to take," Talbot said. "They like to make those small plays into the middle, but with our guys coming back and the back pressure, it allowed our D to have good gaps and kind of force them to the outside. Anytime you can limit them to those shots, you consider that a good game."
It was a tough game for Chicago. The Blackhawks have had their share of those, but it's even more pronounced recently without injured right wing Patrick Kane (broken clavicle). They've dropped to 16th in the NHL in scoring and have averaged 1.8 goals in the past 10 games. Coach Joel Quenneville isn't happy with their shot selection, with most coming from the wings.
"You said, 'middle of the ice,' you've got to get there," Quenneville said. "You've got to find a way to get through it and be willing to go there. Certain guys are effective because they do that, and things happen when we do. If you get on the outside, you make the defensemen's job so much easier and even more so the goaltender."
Chicago has one power-play goal since Feb. 24, when Kane was lost for three months in a game against the Florida Panthers. It happened during the power-play that resulted from the cross-check by Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic that sent Kane into the boards.
Since then, the Blackhawks haven't scored with the man-advantage in 15 opportunities. Kane did most of the heavy lifting for their power play, including his ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone.
Without him, zone entries are rarely successful and they're not getting shots to the net once they do get set up. Chicago went 0-for-4 on power plays against the Rangers and had three total shots. That was after getting one shot on goal in two power plays against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
"I think you realize how fortunate you are when you've got [Kane] on your power play, be it entries or loose pucks, patience, play recognition, and he sets you up for great opportunities," Quenneville said. "There's a void there, but there's opportunities at the same time. Somebody's got to seize it and grab it. I think when we do that, it'll be a big difference to our team game."
Things are going a little better for New York. The Rangers are winning instead of sinking without Lundqvist and have now reached the 40-win plateau in four straight 82-game seasons.
"This group here is pretty special," Brassard said. "We have fun in practice. We always try to bring some excitement wherever we go. We've rebounded pretty well, going to the [Stanley Cup Final] last year, and hopefully we can do it again."