The Blackhawks had a busy Friday. Tanner Kero cleared waivers, Vinnie Hinostroza got called up and Corey Crawford returned from IR.
With all of that action, the Hawks hosted a struggling Buffalo team at the United Center. Ryan Hartman – not Richard Panik – was scratched for Hinostroza as coach Joel Quenneville looked to find a formula that brought some offense.
Chicago did a pretty good job of dominating most of the first period, but a familiar face who has haunted the Hawks for years got Buffalo on the scoreboard. Jason Pominville scored a power play goal with 18 seconds left in the first to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead despite Chicago holding a 13-5 shot advantage through 20 minutes.
The Hawks got a power play in the second and took advantage (finally). Alex DeBrincat scored his 12th of the season to tie the game at one.
Gustav Forsling and Patrick Sharp had the assists on the DeBrincat goal.
Kyle Okposo would get the lead back for Buffalo at 11 minutes into the second with his fourth of the season.
The situation looked bad for a big part of the third period as the Hawks struggled to beat Robin Lehner. When Brent Seabrook went to the box at 15:25 it looked like it could cost the Blackhawks an opportunity for at least one point against a bad Buffalo team.
But Tommy Wingels wasn’t having it. He scored a short-handed goal to tie the game with 3:22 left in regulation.
Forsling picked up his second assist on the Wingels goal; Jan Rutta had the second assist.
And we went to overtime.
Forsling’s two-point night almost ended badly 90 seconds into overtime when he hooked Jack Eichel on a breakaway at the end of a long shift to open the extra session. Eichel was given a penalty shot on the play, but he was stopped by Corey Crawford.
As time ran down in OT, Forsling was back on the ice in the middle of the action. Brandon Saad got the puck to Forsling who put a good, hard shot on net and it slipped past Lehner with five seconds left in overtime to win the game.
Forsling finished the night with three points, five shots on net and two hits in 22:04.
In his season debut, Hinostroza put four shots on net and won three of seven faceoffs in 12:02.
Toews had one assist and one hit in 22:45 but was the only Blackhawks skater to perform well at the dot. Chicago’s captain won 15 of 23 faceoffs in the game; the rest of the Hawks’ roster lost 15 of 23.
Panik skated 13:36 and led the Blackhawks with two blocked shots. He also put three shots on net, a nice change of pace. Saad led Chicago with six shots on net. Connor Murphy had a team-leading four hits.
Crawford stopped 26 of 28 in his return to earn the victory.
The Hawks are back on the ice Sunday night when Niklas Hjalmarsson and the Coyotes come to town. They may be without Cody Franson, who left the game in the third period.
Cody Franson is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. #Blackhawks
— Eric Lear (@BHTVeric) December 9, 2017