Newly-acquired Brett Connolly and Riley Stillman each made their debut while Nikita Zadorov was scratched for the first time this season in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime win against the Blue Jackets Monday night.
Both teams were able to light the lamp in the first period, though Columbus controlled the majority of the play. The Blue Jackets’ Stefan Matteau got behind the Blackhawks’ defense and buried his first goal of the season six minutes into the game to give his team the lead.
Blackhawks’ Power Play Converts
The Blackhawks answered late in the period on their first power play of the game. Duncan Keith stepped into a one-timer off an Alex DeBrincat feed to beat the Jackets’ netminder and tie the game at one.
It’s a good thing the power play converted because the Blackhawks mustered just ten shots at 5v5 in the opening frame and struggled to maintain offensive zone time.
Minutes into the second period, the Blackhawks beat the Columbus netminder for the second time, but it was ruled no goal upon review. The referee lost sight of the puck and the play was blown dead before the puck crossed the line.
From that point, there wasn’t much happening for the away team. The Blackhawks generated just six shots on goal in the middle frame, while Columbus forward Patrik Laine blasted a one-timer from the point to give his team a one-goal lead.
Blackhawks Come Up Empty on Four-Minute Power Play
Late in the second period, the Blackhawks were awarded a four-minute power play when Jackets’ forward Max Domi took two minor penalties in one shift and received a ten-minute misconduct for jumping Connor Murphy.
The Blackhawks fired six shots on goal during the power play that continued into the third period but couldn’t find the back of the net and struggled to get much of anything going. Via Natural Stat Trick, the Blackhawks created just one high-danger scoring chance during the man-advantage.
Blackhawks Find Life in Third Period
Entering the third period down 2-1, the Blackhawks had some work to do. They had come back to win just once all season when trailing after two periods, but they found a way tonight.
Philipp Kurashev started the rally halfway through the period. He played under two minutes with teammate Patrick Kane but made the most of it when he took a cross-feed pass from the future Hall of Famer and scored his eighth of the season to tie the game at two goals apiece.
Just three minutes later, recently acquired Brett Connolly joined the fun. In his first game in a Blackhawks sweater, Connolly took a loose puck just inside the Jackets’ blue, walked to the middle, and gave his new team their first lead of the game.
With eight minutes remaining in the third period, Laine went coast to coast and scored his second of the game to tie it up at three and force overtime. The Finnish forward has scored six of his 12 goals this season against the Blackhawks, and this one may have been the best.
Both teams earned a point as the game went to overtime knotted at three. The Blackhawks hadn’t gone to overtime since March 5th in a game they beat the Lightning in a shootout.
The Future is Now
It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to end the game.
Rookie defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk beat a forechecker in his own end and found Kirby Dach streaking along the right wing. With Kalynuk driving the net, Dach fed Brandon Hagel who made no mistake.
Hagel now has six goals on the season with none bigger than this one.
The Blackhawks were able to pick up the extra point and now sit two points behind the Nashville Predators, who hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central division.
Unfortunately, Adam Boqvist took a puck to the face during his first shift of the game and did not return.
The Blackhawks are now 20-18-5 and sit just two points out of a playoff spot with 13 games left in the short 56-game season.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Blackhawks have two days off before heading to Detroit for a two-game series starting on Thursday at 6:30 PM CT. The Blackhawks are 5-1 against the Red Wings this season and need to take all four points if they want to contend for a playoff spot.