The worst team in the NHL came to the United Center on Monday night and the scoreboard felt like an all-star game in the 1980s.
Chicago looked like crap out of the gate. Bobby Ryan scored a power play goal at 2:06 and Rudolfs Balcers made it 2-0 Ottawa 34 seconds later.
Collin Delia looked shaky and the defense in front of him was nowhere to be found.
Thankfully Ottawa sucks.
At 3:54 into the first Alex DeBrincat scored his 30th of the season and first of the night.
The power play goal was historic on a number of levels.
First, for DeBrincat:
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 19, 2019
Then, for Patrick Kane, who had an assist on the goal:
Patrick Kane is one of only 2 active NHL players to record multiple point streaks of at least 18 GP (also 26 GP in 2015-16). The other:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 19, 2019
And for the team:
The 2018-19 season is the fourth in the last 30 years in which @NHLBlackhawks have featured at least two 30-goal scorers through 60 GP.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 19, 2019
Oh, and we’ve just started this party, folks!
DeBrincat scored again 73 seconds later on his next shift.
Colin White gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead at 7:55 and that was it for Delia. He stopped seven of 10 shots and headed to the bench, replaced by Cam Ward.
Neither team scored for almost five minutes until Kane tied the game.
Less than 60 seconds later Anders Nilsson reached for a puck but not in time and Dylan Strome poked home his 15th of the season to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead.
Nilsson’s night came to an end after the Strome goal. He stopped eight of 12 shots before the hook came out.
Former Blackhawks goaltender Craig Anderson came into the game, making his 600th NHL appearance in his home town.
The Hawks weren’t hospitable.
Brandon Saad wanted to get in on the fun and reach the 20 goal plateau for the season, so he scored 90 seconds after the Strome goal to make it 5-3 Hawks.
Mark Stone scored for the Sens in the final three minutes and the first period came to a close with the scoreboard reading 5-4 in favor of the Blackhawks. Ottawa out-shot the Hawks 16-15 in the opening 20 minutes.
White scored his second of the game for Ottawa to tie the game 92 seconds into the second period. It appeared the ridiculous scoring pace would continue.
It didn’t, but almost seven minutes later DeBrincat scored his third of the night to complete his fourth career hat trick.
The DeBrincat hat trick put him into some elite company in Blackhawks history.
Career regular season hat tricks
career NHL games
6 Jonathan Toews 851
5 Patrick Kane 881
4 Alex DeBrincat 142 (Hat trick tonight)#Blackhawks
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) February 19, 2019
Three minutes later DeBrincat added an assist to his box score. Gustav Forsling was on the finishing end, giving the Blackhawks a 7-5 lead.
Perhaps the biggest news of the night was a penalty called at 15:10 into the second. Dominik Kahun got caught hooking Matt Duchene, his first penalty of the season. He served his first two minutes of shame without consequence, however, as the Blackhawks penalty killers did their job.
Neither team would score again in the final 9:29 of the second period but the shots kept coming. Chicago out-shot Ottawa 16-12 in the second period.
After 40 minutes of hockey, DeBrincat had four points, Strome had three and Duncan Keith had two assists. Saad and Kane had one goal and one assist each as well.
The Hawks’ fourth line didn’t have a point in the game but they were playing very well. John Hayden had a few huge hits early in the game and a couple good defensive shifts flipped the ice in favor of the Hawks, who scored soon after a line change.
Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
At 3:51 into the third Jonathan Toews decided it was his turn. The power play goal was set up by Kane and DeBrincat and gave the Blackhawks an 8-5 lead.
Thomas Chabot was able to draw a penalty but finished the play, beating Ward to cut the lead back to two with 11 minutes left in regulation.
With 5:17 left in regulation Chabot scored again. Ward made an initial save but Chabot flipped the puck over a yard sale in front of the net and a lead that should have been comfortable was no longer.
Slater Koekkoek took a brutal penalty with 1:40 left in regulation, his second penalty of the night. Anderson was removed by Ottawa for a sixth attacker with the Sens on the power play chasing one. Toews had a great look at the open net short-handed but hit the post with 60 seconds left in regulation.
With 30 seconds left Matt Duchene unloaded but Ward was up to the challenge. The shot was tipped by Keith’s stick and changed direction but Ward stayed put for the save. Chicago burned its timeout after the save and sent out Toews, Saad, Keith and Connor Murphy.
Keith was able to break up a pass in the closing seconds and clear the puck and the Blackhawks escaped the worst team in the league… despite scoring eight times.
Kane now has 40 points during his 18-game point streak and has the longest assist streak by an American-born player in NHL history.
Ward stopped 24 of 28 in the relief victory.
DeBrincat registered the first five-point game of his young career.
Brent Seabrook was a late scratch because of an abdominal strain.
Koekkoek led the Hawks with four blocked shots.
Toews won 14 of 22 faceoffs with two points in the game. Strome won four of 11 faceoffs with three points.