Another game without Brent Seabrook, Calvin de Haan, Brandon Saad or Andrew Shaw. On Sunday night the Blackhawks replaced Olli Maatta with Adam Boqvist on the blue line as well; Maatta was a healthy scratch, with Jeremy Colliton again looking for more from one of the veterans Stan Bowman brought in to fix the Hawks’ glaring issues over the summer.
But hey, at least Slater Koekkoek was getting run in another game… right?
Chicago was coming off an inspired blasting of the New York Islanders. And, when these two teams met in October, the Hawks won 3-2 in overtime. Would they ride momentum into Columbus?
The Jackets entered the game with 41 points (17-14-7), ahead of only the Devils in the Metropolitan Division.
In the opening 20 minutes of play the Blackhawks put four shots on net. The Blue Jackets scored twice on nine shots against Robin Lehner.
Because why would anything make sense for the Hawks this year?
Riley Nash scored at 6:54 and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored at 18:40 in the first. Erik Gustafsson had a particularly brutal turnover that led to a goal, and the Hawks looked as flat as their shot total would indicate.
Chicago doubled their first period shot total in the second, but allowed 13 against Robin Lehner. Neither team scored, and Chicago was still chasing two after 40 minutes of hockey. Alex Nylander took only two shifts in the second period.
Sunday night was just ninth time this season Blue Jackets held a lead through two periods. On the other hand, Chicago was 1-15-0 when trailing after two periods.
The start of the third didn’t show much jump from the Hawks but Dylan Strome got Chicago on the board at 7:33 into the final frame.
Strome had been one of few Blackhawks who looked good during the game to that point and his work was rewarded with his eighth of the season. Connor Murphy and Alex DeBrincat picked up the assists.
Alexander Wennberg took a penalty at 13:51. The Hawks did nothing with the advantage. The Blackhawks had two shots on net – combined – to show for their first three power plays of the night.
Chicago got another chance with the “advantage” quickly after the Wennberg penalty ended. Seth Jones took at penalty at 16:16. The Hawks actually did something this time! Gustafsson tied the game at at 17:58.
Duncan Keith and Dominik Kubalik picked up the assists on the Gustafsson goal.
After showing almost nothing offensively for 45 minutes the Blackhawks rallied to force overtime with two goals in the third period.
Columbus out-shot the Hawks 30-23 in regulation. Robin Lehner didn’t have an awesome first period but held the fort and his skaters turned it on when they needed it late.
Nick Foligno took a penalty 65 seconds into overtime but Chicago wasted the power play.
However, by the end of the OT advantage Chicago had already put seven shots on net in the bonus period.
With 18 seconds left in overtime the Blackhawks got caught with too many men on the ice.
Zach Werenski scored for Columbus as time expired. THe officials ruled the clock had expired before the goal went in, so the dreaded Lehner-shootout scenario began.
Jonathan Toews beat Joonas Korpisalo to open the shootout for the Hawks and appeared literally break the Columbus netminder. Korpisalo was replaced with Elvis Merzlikins, who was beated by Patrick Kane in the second round of the shootout.
The two goals were enough and Lehner picked up a desperately needed shootout victory for the Hawks’ top goaltender.
Toews skated 24:05 and won 16 of 28 faceoffs. Kane skated 24:14. Both had three shots on net.
DeBrincat led the Hawks with four shots on net in 24:08. Strome skated 21:14 and won five of 12 at the dot.
Boqvist returned to the lineup and skated 20:19 with two blocked shots. Keith also blocked two shots in 28:23.
Nylander didn’t take a shift after the middle of the second period. He finished with 7:19 of ice time.