On Monday night while the Blackhawks took a night off during an early December stretch at home, the Florida Panthers were in Detroit. James Reimer stopped 34 of 35 to steal two points in an overtime win over the Red Wings.
So of course Reimer would be back in the net on Tuesday night in Chicago, holding the Blackhawks in check.
Coach Joel Quenneville made one change to his lineup after Sunday’s win, inserting Ryan Hartman in place of struggling Richard Panik. Jordan Oesterle stayed in the lineup in place of injured Cody Franson as well.
Brandon Saad got the party started at 16:49 into the first.
The Blackhawks and Panthers each got one power play in the first period, neither of which factored into the scoring. And at the end of 20 minutes the Hawks had a 1-0 lead and the teams each had nine shots on net.
Nick Bjugstad tied the game at 11:12 into the second, but the middle period included far worse news than a Florida goal.
Connor Brickley finished a high check on Jan Rutta, catching the Chicago defenseman in the head with his shoulder. Rutta’s head bounced off the boards and he slowly left the ice, heading straight to the room. Rutta did not return to the game, leaving Chicago with five defensemen for the second half of the contest.
Again in the second period, both sides had a power play that was wasted. The Panthers poured it on in the second, out-shooting the Hawks 17-5 but Corey Crawford kept his team in the game through the blitz.
Jamie McGinn gave Florida a 2-1 lead at 3:53 into the third period. The Blackhawks got a third power play three and a half minutes after the McGinn goal but threw away two more worthless minutes.
Almost exactly ten minutes after the McGinn goal, Saad led a break and flipped a beautiful pass to a streaking Jonathan Toews who tied the game at two.
Toews’ ninth of the season came with a second assist on the night to Alex DeBrincat as the rookie continues to impress. After posting 14 points in 13 games in November, DeBrincat now has four points in his last four games and appears to be developing chemistry with Toews and Saad on the Hawks’ top line.
With three minutes left in regulation, Tommy Wingels attacked the net and Reimer made a save in traffic. Reimer then threw a few punches at the back of Wingels’ head while two of his teammates took shots at the other side of Wingels’ head. Meanwhile, John Hayden had a bloody mouth from a high stick. The result: 5 on 5 hockey. Which might have been a good thing considering how bad the Hawks’ power play had been.
Reimer and Jared McCann both got penalties for roughing Wingels on the play. Wingels picked up two minor penalties by himself, thus the 5-on-5.
Crawford stopped 32 of 34 in regulation; Reimer made 24 saves in regulation to go with his two penalty minutes.
Connor Murphy (18:52) was the only healthy Hawks defenseman who was under 20 minutes of ice time when regulation ended thanks to the Rutta injury.
90 seconds into the overtime at the end of a long shift by Toews, Saad and Oesterle, the Panthers had a few gorgeous looks at the net while Crawford was doing snow angels in the blue paint – but Florida couldn’t finish.
And one minute later, Artem Anisimov fed Patrick Kane for a breakaway and that’s all she wrote.
And for the first time this season the Hawks have won three in a row.
Toews finished the night with two points, four shots on net and two hits while winning 12 of 23 faceoffs. Chicago’s captain also blocked one shot in 22:30 on the ice.
Saad had two points and three shots on net in 17:48. DeBrincat had two assists, one blocked shot and one hit in 17:55.
Hayden skated only 7:27 but led Chicago with six hits. Five Blackhawks blocked two shots each, including Vinnie Hinostroza.
After winning three games against teams they should beat at home, the Hawks will travel to Winnipeg for a big divisional game on Thursday night against the Jets.
Five of the next six Blackhawks games are on the road. They have one home game in the next 23 days.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 13, 2017