In the first of a three-game Canadian road trip, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Ottawa Senators by a score of 3-2 in overtime last night. The Hawks were once again hindered by a horrid start but overcame a two-goal deficit to earn the victory.
Ottawa’s Connor Brown kicked off the scoring after a defensive zone face-off loss by the Blackhawks. As Jean-Gabriel Pageau easily beat Ryan Carpenter on the draw, the Hawks’ defense completely collapsed, allowing Brown to get lost in coverage for the easy tap-in.
After yet another defensive breakdown by the Hawks, the Senators would double their lead four minutes later. Adam Boqvist and Eric Gustafsson would be the guilty parties for the Hawks, as Boqvist failed to break up Chris Tierney’s pass, which deflected off Gustafsson’s stick and into the net.
The birthday boy opens the scoring against Chicago.
GOAL: Brown (8)
ASSISTS: DeMelo (7), Pageau (12) pic.twitter.com/S2XAwA0hWL
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) January 15, 2020
Luckily, the Blackhawks were able to rely on their star players, including red-hot rookie Dominik Kubalik, who sparked the Hawks’ rally late in the second period. Jonathan Toews began the play after winning a board battle below the goal line and setting up Patrick Kane, whose shot was deflected by Kubalik in front of the net.
Kubalik would pick up where he left off early in the third period, scoring the equalizer after being sprung on a breakaway by Toews. The goal was Kubalik’s 18th of the season, which is currently the most scored by any rookie in the league.
Dominik Kubalik gets credit for the goal, his 17th of the season!
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 15, 2020
Toews would end up factoring on all three Hawk goals by taking matters into his own hands in overtime. After beautifully undressing Ottawa goal-scorer Connor Brown, Toews split both Senator defensemen and skated around the net of goalie Marcus Hogberg, who had lost his goalie stick. Toews then snapped a shot past Hogberg’s glove, completing the comeback for Chicago.
Toews, Kubalik, and Kane all extended their current point streaks in the victory. Toews and Kane are on three-game and five-game point streaks, respectively; and Kubalik is on a five-game goal-scoring streak. All three were instrumental in last night’s win, but perhaps none more so than goalie Robin Lehner, who made yet another highlight-reel save at a critical moment in the game.
With Ottawa still leading 2-0 early in the second period, Lehner completely changed the complexion of the game, stoning ex-Blackhawk Anthony Duclair with a stacked-pad save to keep the game within reach.
Robin Lehner, ladies and gentlemen
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) January 15, 2020
“We need to finish strong before the break and come back and be in the mix,” Lehner said after the game. “So every game is important.”
The win allowed the Hawks to move past the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Standings, as Minnesota lost to Pittsburgh last night. Currently, the Hawks are six points out of a Wild Card spot, with two teams currently ahead of them. The Hawks will have another opportunity to gain some much-needed points tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, which will be the second game of a back-to-back, before wrapping up their road trip on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.