Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane have it working right now.
The Blackhawks turned in what may be their best period of the season to open the action against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday evening. At 4:36 into the first, DeBrincat got the Hawks on the board first.
Dominik Kahun was credited with the only assist on DeBrincat’s 22nd of the year.
Kane wasn’t going to let DeBrincat catch him for the team’s goal scoring lead, so he slammed home a power play goal 11 minutes later for his 25th of the year.
On that goal, Erik Gustafsson picked up an assist. He now has a point in eight consecutive games, which puts him in some great company in Blackhawks history.
.@ErkanGustafsson has two assists tonight and assists in eight straight games. That streak is the longest by a @NHLBlackhawks D-man since Duncan Keith in 2013. Here is a list of the longest such steaks in #Blackhawks history. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/VjcxovrXNP
— John H. Steinmiller (@jstein1981) January 13, 2019
Jonathan Toews was also credited with an assist on the Kane goal.
Vegas out-shot the Hawks 11-10 in the first but the Blackhawks controlled the flow almost the entire 20 minutes.
The second period wasn’t nearly as dominant for Chicago.
Alex Tuch scored 94 seconds into the period to cut the lead in half. However, the Hawks would push their lead back to two when Kane and DeBrincat hooked up for another power play goal.
DeBrincat, like Gustafsson, joined some incredible company in Blackhawks history by reaching 50 career regular season goals.
Youngest @NHLBlackhawks at the time of 50th NHL goal:
Eddie Olczyk: 20 years, 60 days@JonathanToews: 20 years, 306 days
Jeremy Roenick: 20 years, 333 days@88PKane: 20 years, 341 days
Denis Savard: 20 years, 350 days
Bobby Hull: 20 years, 351 days@Brinksy97: 21 years, 25 days pic.twitter.com/UoAKZElKWC
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 13, 2019
Vegas cut the lead back to one on Ryan Carpenter’s fourth of the season with 54 seconds left in the period. After two, the Blackhawks held a 3-2 lead while being out-shot 21-18.
The third saw Vegas getting more good looks at Collin Delia. It appears that Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had tied the game, and the officials ruled a good goal on the ice. However, there would be a video review. The would-be tying goal was seen as a distinct kicking motion and wiped off the board with seven minutes left in regulation.
But with 4:04 left on the clock, Paul Stastny beat Delia to square the score at three.
Neither team was able to score over the final four minutes and the Hawks would head to overtime once again.
Shots were 33-23 in favor of Vegas after 60 minutes of hockey. Delia was good, with some help from his posts on a number of occasions. The posts didn’t help the Blackhawks, however.
The Blackhawks controlled the puck off the faceoff to start overtime and were able to get a full change before Vegas could change skaters. The Hawks held the puck for the first 60 seconds of overtime until Marc-Andre Fleury was able to freeze the puck and get his teammates a change.
Off the next faceoff, the Knights got the puck (finally) and took advantage. Shea Theodore turned on the jets and got around Carl Dahlstrom, who appears to make the final contact with the puck that slid through Delia and into the net to lose the game for the Hawks.
Toews skated 22:24 and won 12 of 17 faceoffs in the game with one assist. Kane had one goal and one assist in 21:19 in the loss. DeBrincat scored twice 19:06 and finished tied with Duncan Keith for the team lead with five shots on net.
That’s right. Duncan Keith had five shots on net.
Keith skated 25:47 and Gustafsson was on the ice for 25:41 in which he picked up two more assists. They were the only two Blackhawks defensemen over 20 minutes in the game.