Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks Escape Capitals In OT

After having their game earlier this week postponed because the Flames are in COVID hell, the Blackhawks returned to the ice on Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals.

Brett Connolly and MacKenzie Entwistle made their way into the lineup for Chicago, Washington was without Evgeny Kuznetsov as their forward was placed in COVID protocol mid-afternoon. The Caps did get Nicklas Backstrom back in the lineup for the first time this season, however.

The most important return of the night, however, was Troy Murray was back in the radio booth. It was great to hear him back on the mic. We’re continuing to keep him in our thoughts and prayers as he fights the good fight against cancer.

Before the puck dropped, the Hawks took a moment to celebrate Marc-André Fleury’s 500th career win.

The first period came and went without a goal. The Caps out-shot the Hawks 13-6 in the first period. Making matters worse, Chicago had two power plays in the first period… and only managed six total shots.

Of course the first time the Blackhawks were short-handed early in the second period, Washington made them pay. And it was a historic goal for Alexander Ovechkin.

Ovechkin’s 274th career power play goal ties him with Dave Andreychuk for most power play goals in NHL history. Nicklas Backstrom picked up his first point of the season with an assist on the record-tying goal.

Then Chicago’s offense exploded like we haven’t seen in some time. Martin Fehervary went to the box at 12:05 into the second. Nic Dowd joined him 103 seconds later and the flood gates opened. The Blackhawks remembered how to score! And on the power play; they were 5 for 41 on the advantage at home this season before the second period began.

Alex DeBrincat tied the game 17 seconds after Dowd went to the box during the 5-on-3 advantage.

Philipp Kurashev scored the Hawks’ second power play goal of the night 18 seconds later.

With the advantages successfully completed, the Blackhawks weren’t done. Entwistle scored his third of the season 16 seconds after the Kurashev goal to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead. Three goals in a stunning 34 seconds!

Six different Blackhawks — Patrick Kane, Dominik Kubalik, Kirby Dach, Caleb Jones, Brandon Hagel and Jonathan Toews — picked up assists on the three goals.

Unfortunately Daniel Sprong cut the lead to one with 42 seconds left in the period.

Washington out-shot the Blackhawks 19-12 in the second period. Fleury stopped 30 of 32 in the opening 40 minutes of play while his teammates scored three times in their first 18 shots on net. The Blackhawks took their one-goal lead to the final period.

The last thing the Blackhawks wanted to do was give the Caps a power play, but Entwistle went to the box 50 seconds into the third. The Hawks were able to kill the penalty, however.

Lars Eller was able to tie the game with a soft backhand shot almost 12 minutes into the third period. Sadly, the three-goal outburst was now erased by the Capitals, and the Blackhawks were going to need a fourth goal — something the Blackhawks have done only three times in regulation since the start of November.

TJ Oshie tripped his former college teammate, Toews, with 6:18 left in regulation and the Hawks got a much-needed power play. To start the advantage, Derek King sent out Dylan Strome between Hagel and DeBrincat with Kane and Seth Jones on the point. Jones walked the puck into between the circles and ripped a shot that just missed the net after slipping through Ilya Samsonov.

Remember we noted how awful the Blackhawks’ power play had been at home? Well DeBrincat sniped home his second power play goal of the night — the third Chicago PPG of the game — with five minutes left in regulation and the Hawks had a 4-3 lead.

Hagel and Strome picked up the assists on DeBrincat’s 16th of the season and second of the game.

Washington pulled Samsonov with 90 seconds left in regulation. A desperate passing sequence saw Jake McCabe and Connor Murphy paying too much attention to Oshie (who cross-checked McCabe without a call), leaving Connor Sheary open in the middle of the ice. A Murphy shot block found Ovechkin, who somehow lost Kurashev. Ovechkin made a nice pass to Sheary in the middle of the ice who tied the game with three seconds left in regulation.

The play was reviewed to see if the Caps were offside on the play but they weren’t. The game was tied. And we were headed to overtime.

Fleury stopped 41 of 45 in regulation; his teammates put 26 shots on net in 60 minutes of hockey.

Kane was on the ice for the entire first minute of the overtime and won a puck battle against the boards to spring Dach and Caleb Jones on a 2-on-1. Dach ripped a shot that was stopped but Jones was there to knock home the rebound for a game-winning goal.

The Blackhawks remain undefeated in six overtime/shootout games since King became the head coach.

How rare was the offensive performance on Wednesday night? Coming into the game, only four Blackhawks — DeBrincat (3), Kubalik (3), Kane (2) and Dach (2) — had scored two power play goals all year. DeBrincat scored two in the game. Wednesday night marked the first time this season the Blackhawks scored three power play goals in one game as well.

The Hawks did an exceptional job at the dot again, and it wasn’t just Toews. The Captain won 15 of 19 faceoffs in the game. But Stome won nine of 15, Carpenter won four of five and Dach won five of 11.

Dach had a strong game. In 17:15 he put three shots on net and was credited with two assists. Hagel also had two assists in the game while Caleb Jones (one goal, one assist) and DeBrincat (two goals) also had two-point nights.

37 thoughts on “Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks Escape Capitals In OT

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Entertaining game although it was just heartbreaking with Caps last goal with just 3 seconds left. Guess Dach isn’t getting traded or sent down to Rockford this week.

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Finally Dach has started to shoot first. Rebounds get put in the net a lot. DeHaann’s penalty was complete BS. Everybody needs to have a shoot first attitude. Hagel is still digging and Slavin looked pretty good out there.

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    What a roller coaster of a game. A lot of good, a lot of ugly, great finish.

    I think there were a couple of goals that Fleury would like back, but he saw over 40 shots on goal. He kept us in it, it’s unreasonable to expect a perfect game from him every night.

    Love watching Fleury after a win. His infectious smile might be able to cure Covid-19. Seriously, he is so genuine and happy, it’s hard to not feel better after watching his comments.

    I thought Dach looked better than he has in a long time. More of this, please.

    I liked what I saw from Strome. It’s nice to see him have long stretches of good play. Points are coming, but his effort all over the ice is starting to look like a habit instead of a moment. Keep this up.

    Kane with a defensive moment in OT to lead to the game winner? Me likey.

    I have been super critical of Kurashev this season, he has looked MUCH better since coming back from Rockford. Biggest difference in my mind is he is handling physical play better. He is not getting knocked to the ice like he was before he was sent down. His puck handling is looking a lot better to me as well. Love to see more of this, especially with the rest of the roster starting to warm up a little.

    Hawks scored four goals in regulation two games in a row, would love to see more of this, as long as they can do it without giving up four or more themselves…

    Man, this game would have felt a lot better if the Hawks won in regulation, but two points is two points and I am not going to complain about it. Hope the next game doesn’t get postponed. Nice win.

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Kirby looked good! That will break the hearts of his detractors, kind of like it does when Gus has a good game. Hopefully, Kirby noticed that both his assists came when he shot the puck. The Hawks have a lot of defensemen, but it was surprising that they sat Gus. He’s been good since King got here.

    Fleury saw a lot of pucks, but he did not look strong on the third and fourth goals. Sometimes you just have to outscore the other team if your goalie isn’t perfect.

    It was really nice to see the PP make a team pay for taking penalties. Maybe this will start another spurt like the Hawks had early in the season.

    The Caps always seem to find a way to get Ovie his one timers. Why can’t the Hawks do the same for Kubi?

    That is so excellent that Dach and Strome won draws. Of course, the announcers pointed out that Washington is the 4th worst team in the league at face-offs. Toews was a beast at the dot and looked good. His body may not have deserted him as some of us had feared. Maybe it’s just taking him longer to get back than we thought it would.

    A fun win after the heartbreak in regulation. The Hawks will not continue to go 6-0 in games that have extra time, so they’d better start winning in 60 minutes.

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    Nobody in hockey creates an opportunity for a cross-crease pass during a 5 on 3 better than Captain Serious. An absolute clinic.

    Dach’s best game in quite a while.

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    MAF didn’t get a star tonight but had 42 saves. DCat will probably reach 40 goals again this year .Hagel play’s like Hagel ,Glad to see Entwistle getting back in the game after injury got 1 goal with just 8 min on the ice.
    A nice team effort to win the game and nice positioning from Caleb on the winning goal. Dach 2 pts .
    Proud team found a way to win against a really powerful team .

  • December 15, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Finally more than a couple of Hawks are finally becoming relative and contributing. It’s a shame that it didn’t happen at game one but onward. This team,s centermen are at last driving the play,the team is more defensively responsible,and maybe we are seeing a new coaching staff get messages across to previous passengers. Great defensive play by Kane in the overtime.

  • December 15, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Big team win ,players are working hard ,seeing some roles being developed ,building confidence scoring goals .

    Leave M.A.F in net for the next 5 games and see if we advance in the standings.

  • December 15, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Nice to see Troy Murray was back in booth. Fleury’s celebration was good to see before the game.

    Nice win against a top team, a Blackhawks type of way they have to win those games, hung in, didn’t get rattled, Fleury stopped as many as he needed to, some real big saves. Hopefully the PP is back in business, after 1st 2 pps they were red hot.
    Good to see puck going in for some different players, Kurashev, Entwistle and C. Jones. All 3 were where they should have been without the puck and the puck found them to reward them for it. Connelly needs a game or 2, looked like he hasn’t played an nhl game in awhile, the speed of game seemed to be a bit much at times for him. A hard working win for them.

  • December 15, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Nice to see Strome getting some decent minutes and playing better – note that he not Toews was on for PP that put the Hawks up 4-3

    Gus is good as a 7th – he’s played much better than previously but I like the 6 D they rolled with tonight – Gus’ good play means he can be a competent 7th

    Dach shooting the puck was a welcome sight – he had a strong game as others have noted

    Entwistle contributes much more than either Hardman or RJ – welcome back

    Connolly wasn’t awful but if TJ weren’t injured he wouldn’t be playing- nevertheless also a better player than either Hardman or RJ so for now he’s OK

    Congrats to Caleb getting his first Hawk goal – I liked his game

    They need to learn how to close out games like this – there have been a few too many end of game goals like tonight – a decent forecheck would help there

  • December 16, 2021 at 12:35 am

    Definitely a hard fought game. That 3 goal outburst kinda freaked me out. Who the heck were THESE Blackhawks? Yes, Dach had a better game. But…not as good as he should be. Yes, he shot the puck more. However, and Troy Murray (I got a little misty when I heard his voice) correctly points out that Dach is still not winning too many faceoffs and there was a few moments where he should have been screening the goalie and he was off to the side. Yes, he’s 20. But, it is becoming clear that he is not a “physical force” or power forward kind of guy. He has a finesse mindset. Coach King will have to work with him. He has the skill and the size to be dominant. He just needs to know how to use his body to create more opportunities. I do believe he’ll get there.
    On a sidenote, I really believe that Colliton stunted the growth of quite a few players. I hope that Beaudin, who is having a very underwhelming season in Rockford, isn’t a casualty of Collition’s piss poor coaching.
    Strome was great at the faceoff. His play there opened up the scoring opportunities with Kane and DeBrincat. If he keeps doing this and all the small things that Coach King expects, he may work himself off of that “trade banter”. I would love to see that. Maybe another victim of Colliton’s?
    Toews was a faceoff god. He was also really good with Hagel and, surprisingly, Entwistle. Connolly was out there and he played more minutes, with Toews, but Entwistle, like his preseason, shows up and is noticeable on the ice. I’m glad he got his 3rd goal of the season.
    Kurashev was also noticeable. Maybe he needed to build some confidence in Rockford?
    Defense was solid. Not great. The structure broke down a few times. Notably, the tying goal late in the 3rd. de Haan is very average and is still making ill-advised passes. He may be replaced by Kalynuck in the future. The absence of Gustafsson was noticeable in that the defense was a bit more stable. Again…not great…but better.
    MAF had a well deserved pre-game ceremony and played really well.
    Lastly, I can’t express how good it was to hear Troy Murray. I thought John Wiedeman never sounded happier. Keep Troy in your prayers. He’s the epitome of what it means to be a Blackhawk on and off the ice. He is, in my opinion, the best analyst in all of the NHL. Of course, I’m biased. GO HAWKS!!!

  • December 16, 2021 at 12:49 am

    a lot of good things tonight, which have been well stated by previous posters. left to me to play the debbie downer role.

    i hope there is no loss of focus that this is a team in rebuilding mode. regardless of recent success. ridiculous for entwhistle to be playing eight and a half minutes and slavin six and a half minutes. slavin less than six minutes at even strength. if they don’t play at least double digit minutes each night they should be in rockford.

  • December 16, 2021 at 6:29 am

    I wonder who sits out whenever Gabriel finally gets here??

  • December 16, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Hammer was thinking same thing and Borgstrom too, but may not see him until after break maybe. From last night my guess would be Connelly sits and Gabriel with Slavin and Carpenter on 4th. Entwistle and Kurashev on 2nd and 3rd Rwings, last night both played some with 19 – 38 or with 17- 8 lines.

  • December 16, 2021 at 6:42 am

    77-8 not 17.

  • December 16, 2021 at 6:46 am

    @SS – Nobody in hockey creates an opportunity for a cross-crease pass during a 5 on 3 better than Captain Serious. An absolute clinic.

    I thought I was the only one that noticed how 19 pushed the D-man out of the way so the 88 pass to 12 could get through. Those things never appear in the stats.

    The team with the better goalie won.

  • December 16, 2021 at 6:47 am

    ROBS– Kirby’s first assist was actually a pass- and broken up pass at that… just a lucky bounce to Kurashev- in good position to capitalize.

    Yes- Much better to see Dach away from Kane-imo

    As mentioned many times- Hawks best O is when 17 plays with 12/88– they created several A grade chances… That is also a Line that can get Stuck in the D zone for long periods… It’s a give and take line

    Slavin- really like his game- plays -skates- scrappy like a lesser version of Hagel

    Hagel– Hawks have NOT had a solid guy who can play middle in the 1-3-1 PP set up…
    I think Hagel should get a LOT more looks there— he actually knows how to flex and move- and Has Excellent IQ– brilliant pass on that PP goal to 12

  • December 16, 2021 at 6:50 am

    Last night one of the regulars who I watch the games with – and who has not watched any games of late – asked how the Blackhawks are doing. I said: they are fun to watch, or at least in the game, now that Colliton’s shit show is over.

    Certainly last night’s game lived up to that billing.

  • December 16, 2021 at 7:36 am

    More and more his team becomes fun to watch again! We’re seeing their confidence build and with that, they can be in any game they choose to be in. Enough said about previous coach and management- good riddance.
    Glad they settled with Kyle Beach- I hope he successfully moves in with his life. Would be great to see him brought in by a progressive Hawks organization- as an ambassador for players rights and dignity. It’s got to have been a tough 11 years for this kid!

  • December 16, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Entertaining game but they need to put a muzzle on Colby Cohen. The guy never stops talking.

  • December 16, 2021 at 9:58 am

    SS in the sea of constant criticism, the captain does alot of little things that go unnoticed, that certainly was a big league play for sure.

  • December 16, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Glad we won, but it would have been nice to win in regular time and we likely would have if Carpenter had been out with 19/38 for the last shift instead of Kurashev. That’s on King, not Kurashev.

    I’m not a McCabe fan primarily because he is so slow but I do give him credit for being a battler. On their second goal he was stuck in cement watching Sprong – he needed to get out there and prevent him from squaring up and shooting . That goal never should have happened.

    Guys like Hardman, RJ, many others with similar skill sets can go forever without anything much happening. On the other hand Entwistle doesn’t look much different from them and yet things seem to happen when he is on the ice. He is a bit prone to take loose penalties, but if he can clean that up he could be a good addition. I liked him out there with 19/38.

  • December 16, 2021 at 10:05 am

    @ Earl, I agree 100 %

    Are they playing better than when JC was the coach, 100%, but that’s such a low bar.

    Even while now going 10-6 under King there is only 1 team with less regulation wins, the Yotes

    MAF gives up 4, D gives up over 40 shots yet everyone is raving at how good they played. They also gave up the worst lead in hockey, that damned 2 goal lead.

    Why was Strome on the ice for the last minute of a game trying to hold a 1 goal lead?
    Outside of the PP the Hawks were pretty much outplayed.

    Playing Slavin 6 minutes, Entwhistle 8 is pointless. Carpenter brings nothing, I’d love to see a 4th line of Whistle/Slav/Hardman. Let em play and grow together and I believe you’ll have a great 4th line for years to come.

  • December 16, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Random thoughts…

    Dach was much better last night, but for some reason I think he can do more. He has the talent, he just needs to “be the man”.

    I think Gus, Caleb, DeHaan, and Stillman will all alternate as the 5th, 6th, 7th guy. Personally I would add McCabe to that mix too.

    Connelly was better than Hardman and Reese Johnson, but I could see him and Gabriel alternate.

    Borgstrom is going to need a spot too. Honestly, I see a trade coming soon to free up some spots.

    I was so pissed off when the Caps scored with .03 left, that I turned off the TV and watched HGTV!

  • December 16, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Just a couple of interesting notes.
    I do not expect Nylander to be called up any point. Now that Stan Bowman is gone, I’m getting a sense that those who are left feel somewhat liberated and the appeasing him SB is obviously over.
    Edman 68 is onto something as well. Beaudin’s career is in not looking bright. Org. has soured on him.

  • December 16, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Two high impact small plays that stood out were Toews “block out” to allow the pass to be completed on the first goal and Hagel’s perfect pass to Dcat for the fourth goal. It is still crazy how many times they try for a perfect pass instead of taking the shot. I’m a bit surprised that King hasn’t made this more of an emphasis.

    As someone who is no fan of Danny Wirtz I need to acknowledge that the handling of the Beach investigation and settlement showed very high character and integrity. It is so unlike other sports, particularly the NFL, where they deny and litigate forever. Kudos to the Wirtz family.

    Speaking of Danny did anyone see that the Hawks are embarking on a comprehensive evaluation of the appropriate management structure to identify the new leadership. It sure doesn’t sound like there is any rush to fill the openings.

  • December 16, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Agree a trade could be happening soon. If covid hits the team could be scrambling to find healthy bodies between Nhl roster and Rfd. pretty quick.

  • December 16, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    The radio side of the Hawks is solid with John & Troy. Troy is an excellent analyst. Why can’t we get the same on the tv end. Pat & Eddie do a great job however when they are not doing the games we get this new Danny wirtz woke crowd. The hawks have 3 cup winning teams full of colorful and beloved players that could slot in as studio and in game analysts, yet they fire Jamal and Steve and force feed us a diet of Colby and the former players daughter. I want analysis from someone who played the game. Colby played a whopping 3 games in the NHL. Wake up Danny and give us some credible analysts.

  • December 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    I’d like to hear the TV play by play guy one more time hopefully with Edzo. Cohen needs to go back to the studio because I really don’t watch the intermissions and have the sound down on the post-game until there’s an interview on a player or coach. His voice just gives me the willy’s. I still like the 1st guy they had the best but forgot what the heck his name was.

  • December 16, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Entertaining game to watch. Hawks making themselves watchable. Don’t mind overtime wins agAinst Eastern conference teams.

    On the last goal for Wash. The Russians would always throw back the puck to kill time on a pk if they had the puck or at the end of a close game if they were leading. Strome had the puck late and could have sent it back to Fluery to kill those three seconds.

    Speaking of Strome didn’t someone say “please keep Strome away from 12 & 88″…..

    Dach played well. Still needs and will add weight and hopefully a little speed. You can not compare to McDavid or Matthews they are in a different level. McDavid and McKinnon are lightning Matthews little slower but super hands.

  • December 16, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    Plus Matthews is physically imposing and maybe not as fast as the other two but still very fast- he’s a beast

  • December 17, 2021 at 4:42 am

    #1 star of the game for me was Troy Murray. If we live a few short years here, we all will eventually have a cancer story that will have a profound effect on us and our closest family members/friends.
    Alot of it sucks so bad, .. but then you also are allowed, at times, so much joy. Like the Murrays must have felt on this night.
    Like Dr John used to sing …”Such A Night”

  • December 17, 2021 at 11:09 am

    It’s always very easy to analyze a game After and say I wouldn’t played this guy and I would put this player instead and bla-bla-bla Zzzzzz…zzzzz..zz.
    It’s like some guys who said 2 years ago “ I would trade DCat for a second rd pick because he is to small and was lucky on his first year .and lately another guy who wants to trade Dach because he should be our best Center ( at 20y o ) some humans are really funny.
    Not sure if it’s true but I read somewhere that the coach said to $ Jones to jump back on the ice but Caleb tought it was him andjump on the ice to score the winning goal.
    Love my Hawks
    Tonight win 4-3 .

  • December 17, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Gabriel in Connelly out, Dehaan non covid illness out Gus in, MAF starts tonite.

  • December 17, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Great post on Troy Murray.
    Thank you for that.
    In his day, I never saw any Hawk forward work harder on the boards to win a loose puck.

  • December 17, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Hawks-Panthers Tuesday night is canceled. Just shut the league down if asymptomatic players are not allowed to practice or play. All leagues need a better system of who is allowed to play.

  • December 17, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Cancel the Olympics in China to allow for make up games and penalize them for creating this mess in the first place.

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