Without Marian Hossa and in their second overtime game in as many days, the Blackhawks were able to overcome a good San Jose Sharks team and earn another strong home victory.
Artem Anisimov got the party started in the first period with his 12th of the season, and the opening 20 minutes would prove to be a wide open affair.
Joonas Donskoi would tie the game – and add his name to most spellchecks in Chicago – a little more than three minutes later. He received a long outlet pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and beat Duncan Keith to the front of the net, where he put a nice move on Corey Crawford to score his fourth of the season.
Donskoi added an assist six minutes later when Tommy Wingels scored a power play goal to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead.
That lead wouldn’t last two minutes; Patrick Kane continued his ridiculous play, tying the game with his 21st of the season. Rookie Dennis Rasmussen picked up an assist on the goal to continue his surprising offensive impact.
The second period saw the teams tighten up, and only one goal was scored in the middle stanza. Joe Pavelski made a nice play on a bouncing puck in front of the net and tapped home his 16th of the season. It appeared Joe Thornton redirected a shot/pass between Rasmussen’s legs, where it found Pavelski.
Chicago headed to the final 20 minutes trailing for the second time in 30 hours.
In the third, the Hawks put themselves short-handed twice in the opening five minutes of the period. And, with both Hossa and Marcus Kruger missing from the lineup, we saw coach Joel Quenneville mix things up on his penalty kill unit.
Andrew Desjardins, who has spent most of his penalty killing time with Kruger since being acquired from San Jose late last year, worked with Jonathan Toews while Teuvo Teravainen skated with Artem Anisimov.
Chicago handled both penalty kills well, and 16 seconds after the second penalty expired with Patrick Kane flying out of the box the Hawks tied the game. Phillip Danault, who was impressive again in his second NHL contest of the season, found Andrew Shaw who made a special play to get the puck to the front of the net and past Martin Jones.
The assist was the first point of Danault’s NHL career.
The final 13 minutes came and went without anything impacting the scoreboard, and the Hawks headed back to overtime.
Fittingly, in his 600th NHL game, it was Toews who scored the game winner.
Keith found Kane up the ice with momentum for a 2-on-1 and Kane found his career-long teammate in Toews for the finishing touch.
Kane led the Hawks with seven shots on net and two points, while Keith collected two assists. Kane also finished the night plus-four. Toews won ten of 20 faceoffs and was credited with two hits with his GWG. Brent Seabrook and Shaw finished tied for the team lead with five hits each.
Brandon Mashinter had a remarkable evening. He got into a worthless fight with Mike Brown in the first period and was limited to only 4:38 on the ice, but somehow managed to be minus-two while skating only ten shifts. Certainly there has to be a better option in Rockford than what we’ve seen from Mashinter.
Rasmussen was limited to only 6:59 in the game but won five of eight faceoffs and picked up an assist on Kane’s goal. Bryan Bickell had one hit in 7:12 as the Hawks rolled only three lines in spite of both Hossa and Kruger being out.
Crawford had another strong performance, stopping 33 of 36 in another victory. The last month has been the best stretch of play from the Hawks’ primary netminder since the 2013 Cup playoffs, and arguably the strongest of his career.
Quenneville indicated Hossa will not travel with the team for Tuesday night’s game, but said the upper-body injury is not serious.
Chicago will play once more before the Christmas break, heading to visit Patrick Sharp and the division-leading Dallas Stars.