It turns out five was a good number for Chicagoans on Saturday night.
The Blackhawks showed some early season mettle in overcoming the young Toronto Maple Leafs at the United Center.
With Scott Darling in net after a less-than-stellar effort in Columbus, the Hawks scored the first goal against the Leafs. Artem Anisimov put in his third of the year at 3:36 to give the Hawks an early lead.
But a sore spot from last year showed up late in the first when Toronto tied the game – with 14 seconds left in the first period. A shot found its way through traffic and Tyler Bozak was credited with his first of the season.
The next 25 minutes weren’t great for the Hawks. William Nylander scored… wait for it… a power play goal at 9:28 to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. Less than two minutes later, Tyler Motte tied the game with his second of the year. But James van Riemsdyk scored with 1:44 left in the second to give Toronto a 3-2 lead.
Toronto extended their lead to 4-2 when Nylander scored his second of the night 4:46 into the third. Chicago scrapped for the next 13 minutes and were finally able to break through when Anisimov scored his second of the night – fourth of the season – at 17:32.
Chicago kept the pressure on Fredrik Andersen and Richard Panik scored a stunning, game-tying goal in traffic with 1:28 left in regulation. The goal is the sixth of the season for Panik – equaling his total from last season (when the Hawks acquired him from Toronto for… wait for it… Jeremy Morin).
Overtime came and went without a goal, despite the Blackhawks getting two (2!) power plays in the extra session. JvR went to the box only 32 seconds into overtime, but the Hawks couldn’t convert. Mitch Marner only spent 40 seconds in the box, but Chicago couldn’t capitalize.
In the shootout, Jonathan Toews handled his business and Artemi Panarin scored the game-winner.
Darling allowed a shootout goal Auston Matthews but stopped 30 of 34 in the win.
With the Hawks struggling at the dot, coach Joel Quenneville relied heavily on Toews on Saturday night. Chicago’s captain took 33 faceoffs – winning 22 of them – to lead an improved effort. Anisimov won 10 of 19 to compliment his two goals and Marcus Kruger won seven of 12. Nick Schmaltz won only one of nine at the dot in 9:05 of action.
Marian Hossa returned after missing one game and finished tied with Brian Campbell for the team lead with four shots on net in 17:53. Ryan Hartman, skating better after missing time with an injury as well, led the way with four hits in 12:48.
Gustav Forsling finished minus-two, but was second among Hawks defensemen in ice time at 23:18 and blocked two shots.
The Hawks were 0 for 6 on the power play and killed one of two Toronto advantages.