Entering Thursday night’s game, Chicago was a mere 40 points behind Boston in the standings. The Bruins and Blackhawks were on opposite ends of the standings, and a banged up Hawks team came in struggling.
Chicago got Dylan Strome back from concussion protocol but were still missing Andrew Shaw, Drake Cagguila and Duncan Keith. Dennis Gilbert returned to the NHL to give Chicago enough bodies to fill out a complete roster – a fun change of pace.
Patrice Bergeron was not in the lineup for Boston.
So in the first period it appeared the Hawks were happy to let the Bruins control the action. Boston got plenty of looks early but couldn’t convert thanks to Robin Lehner’s strong play between the pipes.
Patrick Kane went to the box 33 seconds into the game but Chicago successfully killed the penalty. Anton Wedin went to the sin bin 16 minutes later and this Bruins power play led to a goal.
It came from Ryan Carpenter.
Carpenter’s first goal with Chicago came short-handed and gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. Connor Murphy had the only assist.
David Pastrnak went to the box 27 seconds after the Carpenter goal, giving the Blackhawks their first power play of the night. Strome celebrated his return to the lineup with a redirection that beat Tuukka Rask and gave Chicago a 2-0 lead late in the first period.
The official shot totals after 20 minutes of hockey showed Boston with a 12-8 advantage but the Hawks led by two.
Chicago out-shot their hosts 12-10 in the second period but neither team scored.
Historically, “17 seconds in Boston” has a special meaning for Blackhawks fans. On Thursday night it represented the end of a 12-game goalless streak. Alex DeBrincat got back on the board early in the third period.
Calvin de Haan and Strome were credited with assists on the goal.
Former Blackhawk Joakim Nordstrom broke up Lehner shutout bid 92 seconds later, cutting the Hawks’ lead to two.
Kirby Dach skated between Carpenter and Zack Smith and that trio was the best line on the ice for much of the middle 40 minutes of the game.
After Smith lowed the boom on Pastrnak in the middle of the third period, John Moore came to his teammates defense and dropped the gloves with Smith. Unfortunately, Moore had just come back from major shoulder surgery and it appeared fighting in his first game back was a terrible decision; he went straight to the room without moving his left arm after a quick fight.
Moore was able to return to the penalty box after almost four minutes in the room as Chicago went on a power play. Charlie Coyle took a seat to give the Blackhawks the advantage.
Chris Wagner took advantage of a Gustafsson blowout and scored a short-handed goal for Boston with five minutes left in regulation to cut the Hawks’ lead to one.
With 2:33 left in regulation Torey Krug tied the game. Alex Nylander watched Krug skate away from him and Brent Seabrook left his spot to chase the puck below the goal line, opening the door for Krug’s fourth of the season.
The Bruins out-shot the Hawks 18-10 in the third period and scored the final three goals to send the game to overtime. Boston had a 40-30 shot advantage after 60 minutes. Lehner made some terrific stops but the defense failed him in the third.
Coach Jeremy Colliton opened overtime with Connor Murphy skating with Jonathan Toews and Kane. Toews got a breakaway and buried the game-winner to make the players’ moms happy.
Toews had a huge night, winning 17 of 28 faceoffs against the Bergeron-less Bruins and adding the game-winning goal in 19:37 on the ice. He was also credited with two blocked shots, three hits and two takeaways.
Both Gustafsson and de Haan reached 100 career points with assists in the game.