Toews Bails Out Hawks with Overtime Game-Winner vs. Bruins

The annual Blackhawks’ “Mother’s trip” provided some much-needed luck last night, as the Hawks ended their 3-game losing skid with a win against the Boston Bruins. The win prevented the Hawks from falling even deeper within their own division and ended Boston’s 8-game winning streak.

Ryan Carpenter and Alex Debrincat especially benefited from having their moms in the crowd, as both players went on to break long goalless droughts. Carpenter would score both his first goal of the year and as a Blackhawk, while Debrincat would snap a 12-game goalless drought.

In addition to the moms, the return of second-line center Dylan Strome truly invigorated the Blackhawks. After missing the last four games with a concussion, Strome would return in major fashion, registering one goal and one assist.

Carpenter began the scoring with 1:46 seconds left in the period, potting a short-handed goal as Patrick Kane was serving a hooking penalty. After intercepting a weak pass from Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, Carpenter sparked a 3-0n-2 rush with Connor Murphy and Zack Smith. With Murphy’s one-timer rebounding off of Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, Carpenter pounced on the rebound, giving the Hawks an early lead.

 

Strome would follow suit just 37 seconds later on a Blackhawks power play, deflecting Erik Gustafsson’s one-timer from in front of the crease. Patrick Kane — whose 15-game point streak was broken last game — registered the secondary assist on the goal. For a power play that is currently ranked 26th in the league, the Hawks’ crisp puck movement in the attack zone — in addition to Strome’s effective net-front presence — was a sight for sore eyes.

“Yeah, [Strome] was really good I thought, both with and without the puck,” Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “That line, they created a lot and made a lot of half-chances, but obviously had a couple really good looks and they scored. The power play came through, which was big. I’m happy with him.”

Strome not only scored on the power play, but also had the primary assist on the goal that would finally snap Debrincat’s goalless drought.

In spite of a 3-0 deficit early in the third period, the Boston Bruins would not go quietly. Ex-Blackhawk Joakim Nordstrom began the Bruins’ rally soon after Debrincat’s tally, when goalie Robin Lehner gave up a juicy rebound off a shot from Boston forward David Backes.

Fireworks would erupt between both teams later in the period after Zack Smith delivered a crushing body-check on Boston’s star forward David Pastrnak. Smith was immediately challenged to fight by Bruins defenseman John Moore. The hit by Smith may have been a response to Alex Debrincat being leveled by David Backes earlier. Although the fight was short between Moore and Smith — with Smith apparently the victor — it served as an even bigger rallying moment than Nordstrom’s goal, as Chris Wagner and Torey Krug would stun the Hawks by forcing overtime with less than five minutes to go in the game.

With the Hawks reeling, it was captain Jonathan Toews to the rescue, slipping the puck through Rask’s five-hole on a breakaway to give the Hawks a critical victory.

The Hawks look to utilize their momentum tonight against the New Jersey Devils on the second of back-to-back games — doing so will be critical in order for the Hawks to re-establish themselves in the playoff picture.

“We had a little run there after we had a big win in Nashville,” Toews said. “Whether we win a string of games together, we can build off games like this. We had the start we needed tonight and carried it through 60 for the most part. It’s got to be a confidence builder when you beat a team like Boston in their own building but what matters is what we do next. We got another chance to build off it tomorrow night.”

 

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