The Blackhawks looked their dwindling playoff chances square in the eye on Monday night. Winnipeg invaded the United Center and Chicago knew that Colorado, who was in St. Louis, needed only one point more than the Hawks to end those playoff chances.
Colorado lost to the Blues in a shootout.
The Hawks came out fairly well. Jonathan Toews scored a power play goal to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead.
The goal established a new career-high in points for Chicago’s captain and matched his career best of 34 goals.
Unfortunately, the Jets took control of the second half of the period.
Adam Lowry scored at 10:49 and Jack Roslovic gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead with 34 seconds remaining in the first.
The Hawks had a 12-9 shot advantage after 20 minutes but the only numbers that mattered were the goals on the scoreboard.
Toews was called for interference on breakaway by Mark Scheifele just 40 seconds into the second period but Corey Crawford was able to handle the penalty shot.
Roslovic scored his ninth of the season and second of the night at 5:11 into the second period. Chicago would need to come back hard at home if their playoff hopes were more than a dream.
Dylan Strome woke up the United Center with his 18th of the season 72 seconds later.
That would be the total of the scoring through 40 minutes. Winnipeg out-shot the Hawks 14-7 in the second period and carried a one-goal lead into the third.
Early in the third Drake Cagguila had a great chance that hit a post – which sums up this season for the Hawks perfectly. Chicago wouldn’t get another really good look at Connor Hellebuyck for another ten minutes.
Crawford continued to make big saves as the Hawks struggled with turnovers, but with three minutes left in regulation Scheifele was able to beat Crawford to extend the lead to two.
However, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton challenged that the play was onside. Colliton won the challenge and the Hawks remained within one.
After the TV timeout that followed the challenge Chicago pulled Crawford for an extra attacked with three minutes on the clock. Toews set up Strome and the game was tied with 2:20 on the clock.
Erik Gustafsson picked up an assist for the third time on as many goals.
With 12 seconds left in regulation Dustin Byfuglien leveled Cagguila after getting rid of the puck. He then proceeded to shove Cagguila back to the ice and then throw a series of punches, a few of which landed after the officials stepped in to break up the fight. Cagguila got to visit the quiet room; Byfuglien went to the penalty box.
Both players were assessed fighting majors. Regulation ended with the score tied at three and Connor Murphy lowering the boom on a Jets skater. The major penalty meant Byfuglien wouldn’t be available for almost all of the overtime period.
Again, the Blackhawks needed the second point in the game to gain in the playoff race. Colorado had already lost.
Patrik Laine had a breakaway 70 seconds into the overtime but Crawford stoned the attempt. Gustafsson went for a change and left Laine all alone on the play. Thankfully Crawford was up to the task again.
Nikolaj Ehlers got another great look on a 2-on-1 90 seconds later but, again, Crawford was on point.
Duncan Keith turned the puck over after the following faceoff and the Jets got two more great shots on net but Crawford stopped those, too.
Unfortunately Kevin Hayes got yet another great scoring chance and beat Crawford to end the game.
Chicago’s playoff chances remain on life support, but the overtime loss doesn’t help the Hawks in the standings.
Toews skated 23:22 and finished with one goal, one assist and won 15 of 26 faceoffs. He finished tied with Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger for the team lead with four shots on net. Kane also had five shots miss the mark.
Strome finished with two goals and one assist but won only one of nine faceoffs.
Crawford stopped 35 of 39 in the loss.
John Hayden dressed. He skated 6:31 and led Chicago forwards with three hits.
Gustafsson collected three assists, two blocked shots, two takeaways and was credited with a team-high six hits. Carl Dahlstrom was credited with three hits. Brent Seabrook led Chicago with five blocked shots.