Erik Gustafsson, Blackhawks Steal OT Win In Florida

To be fair, Chris Kunitz didn’t dress for the Hawks on Saturday night and they still lost.

The opening 20 minutes in Florida were less than ideal. The Panthers put 16 shots on net against Cam Ward, scoring twice. Chicago put nine on net and failed to score once.

Brandon Manning, one of the “impact” signings from the summer to “help fix” the blue line, did pick up seven penalty minutes in the game’s first seven minutes. He went to the box at 4:12 and Florida scored on the power play. Soon after returning, he dropped the gloves with former Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer. Manning landed a couple shots before Brouwer put him on the ice. Many in Chicago were undoubtedly dusting off their Brouwer jerseys later in the period.

After the telecast told the viewing fans in Chicago that Florida was among the worst second period teams in the NHL, the Hawks went to work quickly. David Kampf got the party started 49 seconds into the period with his third of the year.

That power move was followed by a terrific play between Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane less than five minutes later. Saad flipped a nice backhand pass to the front of the net and Kane tipped it home for his 13th of the year.

Suddenly, what appeared to be a runaway train was tied at two.

But, to borrow from Lee Corso, not so fast my friend!

Less than three minutes after scoring, Kane flew out of the zone and left Aaron Ekblad all alone. The Panthers defenseman gave Florida the lead back with his fourth of the year.

Frank Vatrano picked up a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct at 8:55 and the Hawks spent the entire two minutes in the offensive zone, though most of it was playing patty cake around the outside of the zone (you know, the power play they brought in the noted PP guru to employ). With the same five skaters stuck on the ice after Vatrano left the box, Florida attacked and Vatrano ended up scoring his seventh of the year to extend the lead back to two.

After 40 minutes, the Panthers had a 34-19 shot advantage. Cam Ward was trying his hardest, but wasn’t getting much help at all.

The game stayed at 4-2 until the middle of the second period but the Blackhawks were doing almost all of the shooting. Chicago allowed only one shot in the first ten minutes of the third period, and were able to get back on the board – while killing a penalty.

Kane was serving his second minor penalty of the night and Alexandre Fortin exploded up the ice. He crashed the net and a bouncing puck somehow ended up in the net behind James Reimer, giving Fortin a short-handed goal and cutting the lead back to one.

Fortin’s goal gave Chicago three in the game, a mark they’ve reached only four times in their last 13 games. The last time the Hawks scored four was on Oct. 25 against the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Patrik Laine scored five goals for Winnipeg in St. Louis.

With 5:43 left in regulation, John Hayden got a shift with Jonathan Toews and Saad. Hayden made a strong move to the side of the net and put the puck in front. The rubber found its way through traffic and Saad had a great look at an almost-empty cage, but put it off the crossbar. Saad raised his arms but the call on the ice of no-goal was correct.

And so on we went with the game still at 4-3 in favor of the Panthers.

With less than 5:30 left in the third, Florida put their second shot on net in the period.

Ward went to the bench with 1:44 left in regulation, at which point Florida had only put four shots on net in the third.

In what appeared to be a desperate garbage play, Kane dumped the puck in from just across center ice with only 15 seconds left. But it found Saad behind the net, and he threw a pass backward to a wide open Alex DeBrincat who slammed home his tenth of the year to tie the game with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation.

And we got overtime. For both teams, this was the third game in four nights as well.

Saad, Kane and Gustav Forsling each had two points in regulation.

Chicago opened overtime with Toews, Kane and Duncan Keith. Saad jumped over the boards with Nick Schmaltz and Erik Gustafsson for the second shift.

Off a Kampf faceoff win, Gustafsson maneuvered through the zone and fired home a game-winning goal to give the Hawks a road victory for the first time since Oct. 20.

The Blackhawks out-shot the Panthers 22-4 in the third period and overtime.

Four of the Hawks’ six defensemen skated more than 20 minutes in the game. The lowest ice time on the back end was Henri Jokiharju at only 15:01 and Manning was limited to under 16 minutes but also sat in the box for seven minutes in the first period. Keith led all Chicago skaters with eight shots on net.

Kane and Toews both skated almost 25 minutes in the game. Kane had two points while Toews won 12 of 25 at the dot; they combined to put ten shots on net.

22 thoughts on “Erik Gustafsson, Blackhawks Steal OT Win In Florida

  1. Didn’t see the game, happy ending with some pretty inconsistent stretches by the sound of it.

    Prospects tonight
    Entwistle 2g, Beaudin 1g 2a, Hagel 1g 1a
    Gravel 23 saves in 2 1 loss , Foo 1g and Mitchell still playing no points yet in 2nd.
    May have missed somebody in ncaa.

  2. It’s always nice to see the Hawks win regardless of the criticism we all interject. The only way they will win games is scoring at least 3 goals a game minimum. Hayden showed a pulse, he can contribute (especially on a team like the current Hawks) if he gets to play 12 minutes plus a game; let’s recall two games ago the coach played him less than three minutes.

    They get to clown around in Miami or have a fun flight home.

  3. Gaining points is…pointless. The short term win is the long term loss. Better to fall to the bottom to truly rebuild.

  4. Nice to see some adjustments by Colliton that paid off

    Neither Keith or Schmaltz was used with the goalie pulled – DCat was there instead of Schmaltz (like he should be on PP1) and the Dmen used were Forsling (who had a very good game), Gus and Seabrook

    Although Joki didn’t play a lot he played mostly with Keith which was another good adjustment by JC

    I hope Manning gets adjusted back to the press box next game – I don’t believe Rutta can be worse – when Murphy comes back someone (probably Rutta) is going

    Schmaltz and Keith on PP1 needs to be over

    Kampf with a great move and a nice game and the assist (FO win) in OT – again JC adjusted from playing Kampf at the start of OT but still played him

    Another goal (Ekblad’s ) that was a result of Kane not being committed to any sort of defence – even Eddie O called him out – that’s 3 games in a row where Kane has been directly responsible for the Hawks being scored on by not playing D and picking up his man

    Saad had a great game as did Toews even though he didn’t hit the score sheet

    Should be an inspirational win for the team – let’s see if they can carry it forward into a tough week

  5. Well what was that? Different team showed up for the third period than I have seen in a long time. Did we finally get a buy-in by a team to bust their butts? I’m curious what was said between the 2nd and 3rd, and by whom? I have a hunch it wasn’t the regular between periods talk. I hope it went something like this: “Hey man, if you don’t want to work at both ends of the ice, take that sweater off now, shower and get on the $&@#%@%^ bus. We don’t need you here”. And yes, I would hope it was directed at 88. Maybe it was said on the bench after the skate he went for at center ice.

    Don’t get me wrong, he is one specially talented hockey player. I love what he can do and how well he can do it. But there comes a point in a career where you have to look in the mirror and decide how you want to be remembered. “Oh yeah, I played with Kane. What a great scorer and passer he was. But he wasn’t interested in playing defense and nobody ever made him”. The man wears a letter on his sweater. Time to act like a leader instead of a primadonna. Play for the team and help the kids to understand what it takes to be a winner (see Marian Hossa). Colliton would gain a lot of respect or lose the team, but it certainly would have been warranted. Too many nights 88 only plays at one end. It needs to stop. Wake this team up.

    Ebony – great points in the last thread. You hit the nail on the head so many times I would have thought you were building a house. Thanks for your insight and points.

    Please, can we get 2 off of the PP and overtime period? Forsling and Gus need that time, not an aging veteran who simply can’t do that part of the job any more. Cutting him back to 15 minutes a game can only help the team.

  6. That was the Panthers, not the Preds, Knights, Flames or Sharks….
    Bottom six still brutal to watch and Manning, wow, he can swim but can’t skate. Thx Bowman…
    Kane needs to play with a playmaking center who can skate just like he did when the club was 6-2-2 and number 8 was feeding him the puck. He needs puck possesion style center like Schmaltz not AA. Dump and chase game from Toews and Saad not his style either.
    Happy for Gus.

  7. Question: why is it that this team plays substantially better when we are trailing by 2 goals? Is it because the other team starts trying to protect the lead? Or is it because we finally decide to start attacking?

    Kane flying the zone there was fine, it’s a good calculated gamble and the puck was briefly up for grabs. But he lingered too long in the neutral zone when it was clear we weren’t gonna win the puck. That was lazy. I liked the thought process, but not the effort. Also he doesn’t wear a letter, though the point about being a leader still stands.

    We suck at defending. Florida’s second goal was absolutely brutal. PK is even worse, shorthanded goal notwithstanding.

    That was the kind of win that can get a team hot. Not holding my breath, but keen to see if they start playing on their toes from puck drop moving forward.

  8. It’s nice to be able to win one in the shallow end of the pool- it’s gonna get much deeper this week!
    Didn’t see the game as we were forced, in Canada, to watch Leafs, Habs, Jets, Flames!
    Line juggling is not an ART form, it’s a desperation play- gonna need some consistent pairings to get consistent play. And why can’t we START with a “winning trio” in OT- instead of what we’ve always done and expect a different result?!
    Thanks for the win!

  9. Have to admit watched only part of third and overtime (whew, the Irish held on)
    Nice to see the effort and fun late in the game. Agree, Travis and Silent were Spot on about 88 and more importantly the character of this team, or sometimes lack of it.

    Somebody mentioned it’s just a waste due to the draft pick lottery-perhaps it is but it’s the players in the room that have a big say in this and they finally decided to give an honest effort, if only for a third of the game. In reality that effort may not be enough to salvage the week ahead.
    Unless Crow stands on his head.

  10. Fortin– proving his feet are better than his hands– with skate/goal

    Ian- Olofsson- with another goal last nite

    Hull65- right u r… Panthers… we need to lose to the teams below us!!! For better draft Odds 2019

  11. Defense bad.
    Nice to see Fortin get a payoff.
    Nice to see DeBrincat back in the scoring column. Timely.
    Nice to see the boys fight back despite all of the suckiness that had taken place.
    Next.

  12. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I can’t root for the Hawks to lose even though I know it’s better in the long run to get a better draft position. Just can’t do it. By the same token I’m not too disappointed when they lose … so a bit of a dichotomy, but there it is. It’s weird because I want individual players to do well, AND I don’t want to watch the team lose, BUT I also want the Hawks to get a top-5 draft pick. I’m not sure all that computes but that’s what’s brewing in the fever swamp of this fan’s brain.

    I see Johnson was sent back to Rockford earlier today – good. He has decent speed and plays a gritty game so maybe he’ll develop some more playing more minutes in Rockford. Plus Rockford has really taken a nose dive lately so hopefully Johnson can help them right the ship a bit.

  13. When Murphy returns, should have more balance on blueline maybe. Seabrook and Gus should be 3rd pair with controlled minutes and let them play alot of pp minutes and maybe late when trailing in the game.
    Need forwards to be more defensively responsible, pretty much all of them lapse at times in this area. Get a little secondary scoring and this team can win some games. How many and how far they go isn’t important right now, getting a positive attitude in the dressing room is the main concern.

  14. @Ian: I generally have a much darker view of this team than you do, but I fully agree with you on Gus. He is (at best) a niche player – he is not a minute eater – so let’s play him like that. OT is perfect for him when defense is pretty much out the window (which is of course how me approaches the first 60 as well). This would mean more work for Forsling, who is looking good so far (fingers crossed), and maybe is ready for a bigger work load.

    It’s good for morale to win the odd one. Besides, going in the tank is based on management gutting a roster, not the players slacking off. Players are still expected to play hard — always.

    Good for Kampf, he grinds every shift, so it’s nice to see him rewarded on the score sheet. If he could find a bit more offense he can be a player. If not, he will stay stuck in the Dennis Rasmussen zone which is just not enough to stay in the NHL. I am rooting for him.

  15. That was a legit NHL power move by Kampf – I never saw Rasmussen do anything like that although full disclosure I didn’t see his every shift

    Kampf also had a nice move in one of the previous two games to get himself a good scoring chance (shot from the slot) – there seems to be more to him than we (speaking for myself) thought

    There’s good interview with Stan by Powers at The Athletic if you subscribe

    If Stan is to believed the Manning and Kunitz signings were done to bring in people Q liked – could just be Stan covering his ass but that rings true to me – Q has reportedly had quite a significant amount of input into roster moves

    Also if you read between the lines I get the impression that Stan will be reluctant to spend his cap $ on a player with term left on his contract and instead wait for July 1 to spend during free agency – and it should be a good UFA crop this summer

    of course he would take on an expiring contract

  16. Prospects today
    Entwistle 1g 1a 3 of 6 fo
    Kurashev 1g 1a 7 of 13 fo
    Beaudin 2a
    Gravel 5g on 13 shots chased after 1st

  17. Travis – thanks for the correction.
    Ian, Wall and anyone else offering kid updates – thanks. Sounds like we have a few players in the system that can score.

  18. Tab it would be good to see some -‘in the system’ updates, and who might be considered for a spot in the WJC. Thanks

  19. Whoever mentioned the Bowman interview, thanks. Just read it. Self serving nonsense, no admission of responsibility whatsoever by Bowman re his voluminous transgressions. And if you believe Bowman, we are set on defense for the next decade solid after this season. No one knows who is going to pan out and who isn’t.

    If you read the article and only knew Q was fired but didnt know the Hawks’ record, you would think the Hawks are comfortably in a playoff spot trying to secure home ice slotting.

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