The Blackhawks won. Again.
And, as has become the trend with this team, the superstars stole headlines while role players made a major impact.
When Michal Rozsival signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks this summer it was overlooked by many. After being among the ice time leaders among defensemen for the Coyotes last year, he was viewed as a nice depth addition.
In his first nine games with Chicago this year, Rozsival has seven assists already; he posted only 13 points in 54 games with Phoenix last season.
Rozsival was credited with two assists in Monday night’s thriller at the United Center, leading a rush that set up Viktor Stalberg’s game-tying goal in early in the third and then receiving the second assist on Marian Hossa’s game-winner in overtime. He was also credited with three hits in the game.
Rozsival was just one of the Hawks players that isn’t yet a household name making a huge difference in the game.
Marcus Kruger continued his fantastic start to the season with another strong performance. He won nine of 13 faceoffs and was credited with the primary assist on Patrick Kane’s powerplay goal early in the first period.
Daniel Carcillo was once again on the Hawks’ fourth line, but was a wrecking ball throughout. He was credited with a team-high six hits in the game while skating only 10:21 on the night.
The Hawks were trailing early, when a blowout by Duncan Keith gave the Oilers a golden short-handed opportunity that Jeff Petry capitalized on during the first Hawks powerplay. But Kane answered 62 seconds later with his team-leading tenth goal of the season.
Edmonton took the lead again with a powerplay goal from Nail Yakupov in the second, and the Oilers took that lead into the third period.
But in the third, the Hawks looked like anything but a team playing for the third time in four nights. Between the third period and overtime, Chicago outshot Edmonton 16-5 to take control of the game.
Ray Emery stayed undefeated on the season, improving to 8-0-0 with 17 saves.
For the Hawks, Nick Leddy and Patrick Sharp were also credited with assists in the game.
On the blue line, coach Joel Quenneville once again spread out the ice time well.
After his blowout, Keith missed a significant part of the first period; he skated only 16:43 in the game. Brent Seabrook saw only 19:22 in the game, while Rozsival (20:02), Johnny Oduya (24:53) and Niklas Hjalmarsson (23:42) carried the bulk of the ice time.
Leddy was credited with four hits and two blocked shots in 16:34 in addition to his assist.
The Blackhawks finished an incredible seven-game homstand 6-0-1, and remain on top of the NHL.
NOTE: the assist on the game-winner was the 400th point of Sharp’s career.