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The Cat’s Out of the Bag: DeBrincat Continuing to Produce in Bounce-Back Season

Alex DeBrincat now has three consecutive multi-point games since returning from the COVID list.

Alex DeBrincat Blackhawks
Photo: NHLBlackhawks/Twitter

The Blackhawks and Stars faced off for the first time this season in a Sunday afternoon game that saw over 60 shots between the two teams but just three goals.

Early in the first period, the Dallas jerseys were pathetic just as we all knew. The Blackhawks were controlling the play as Malcolm Subban looked good in his third start of the season.

The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 11-9 in a first period that saw an Alex DeBrincat goal overturned for a high stick and both teams unable to convert on their power play opportunities.

Early in the scoreless second period, newcomer Nikita Zadorov dropped the gloves with Stars’ captain Jamie Benn. This is exactly the kind of physical element the Blackhawks were expecting when they traded for Zadorov. His 56 hits this season are the most among NHL defensemen, and now he has his first fight as a Blackhawk under his belt.

Midway through the contest, the Blackhawks found themselves on the power play once again. While their first two outings on the man advantage in the first period struggled to generate much of anything, DeBrincat buried a cross-seam pass from his buddy Dylan Strome on this opportunity for the first goal of the game.

After two periods, the Blackhawks led 1-0 and were controlling much of the play. Subban would have liked to display better rebound control at times, but he still stopped all 22 shots he faced through 40 minutes.

DeBrincat Buries OT Winneer

The Stars would tie the game with ten minutes left on a fluke deflection that dribbled past a sprawling Subban. The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 32-29 in regulation as the game headed overtime tied at one apiece.

Extra time has not been friendly to the Blackhawks this season. Their four overtime losses this season lead the entire league, but they found a way to get the extra point against the Stars on Sunday afternoon.

DeBrincat went on to score the game-winner when he brought the puck through the neutral zone and passed it wide to Patrick Kane who gave it back to DeBrincat going hard to the net. This marked DeBrincat’s second goal of the game.

The Blackhawks now hold a 5-4-4 record, good for a playoff spot, 13 games into the season. Just as we all expected, right?

Positives

Alex DeBrincat now has six goals and six assists in nine games this season. What’s even more impressive is his continued production despite a four-game absence when he landed on the COVID list. Since returning from the protocol, DeBrincat has posted three consecutive multi-point games (two in each contest). Much of the Blackhawks’ success this season has relied heavily on DeBrincat’s ability to bounce back after a career-low 18 goals last season. It’s refreshing to see him bury his opportunities and rediscover his scoring touch after a snake-bitten 2019-20 campaign.

Malcolm Subban recorded 30 saves on 31 shots and made a few big saves along the way. After losing his first two starts of the season, it was important for Subban to get his first win and work to solidify himself as the backup behind Kevin Lankinen.


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