The Chicago Blackhawks skated into Ottawa on Tuesday night to face a Senators squad that had lost seven straight and 10 of their last 12. Robin Lehner, originally a second round pick of the Sens back in 2009, got the start against his former employer.
With forward John Quenneville reassigned over the weekend, Chicago had 12 forwards available. Yet Jeremy Colliton waited until the second period to put Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik back together.
Connor Brown and Chris Tierney gave the Sens a 2-0 lead in the game’s opening eight minutes. At the end of 20 minutes both teams were credited with 12 shots on net but the Hawks were chasing a couple.
Colliton put together the best line he has healthy right now to open the second and surprise! it produced a goal. It took more than 17 minutes to get the puck into the net but Kubalik redirected a Kane shot into the cage to cut the lead in half.
Kane’s assist gives him 996 points in his career. Toews was also credited with an assist. The goal extended Kubalik’s streak to five straight games with a score.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 15, 2020
The Hawks clamped down well defensively against a bad Senators team, holding the home team to five shots in the second period. Chicago was credited with nine in the second and trailed by one heading to the third.
A little more than three minutes into the third Toews found Kubalik streaking up the ice and the lead was no more.
Toews picked up his second assist of the evening; Slater Koekkoek also picked up an apple on the Hawks second goal of the night. For the Blackhawks captain, Tuesday marked the fourth time in six games since the calendar flipped to January that he’s recorded multiple points in a game and the third straight game he’s had two points.
Kubalik and Kane both had a good look at the net in the final few minutes of regulation but neither could pull the trigger. After 60 minutes the game was still tied at two. Free hockey!
The Hawks allowed 10 shots on net in the final 40 minutes of regulation; Chicago held a 29-22 shot advantage after three periods. Lehner wasn’t tested much but he was on point after the first period when he needed to be.
Kubalik was credited with nine of the Hawks 29 shots on net in regulation.
On the opening shift of overtime, Toews danced two Senators and then circled the offensive zone after Marcus Hogberg lost his stick in net. Toews unloaded a missile from the center of the ice and the game was over.
Including his three points on Tuesday night, Toews now has 36 points in 36 games since Nov. 1.
Kane added a second assist on the game-winner, giving him 997 points in his remarkable career.
There is no excuse for Colliton to continue starting games with Kubalik, Kane and Toews separated. Put them together and leave them there for the entire 60 minutes and watch the scoring become easier.
Erik Gustafsson had a team-leading three credited giveaways in 17:39 on the ice. Only Koekkoek was on the ice for less time than Gustafsson, who probably could have added a couple giveaways to his credited total.
Koekkoek and David Kampf led Chicago with four hits each.
Connor Murphy was credited with three hits and a team-leading three blocked shots in 22:28.
Welcome back, Zack Smith! pic.twitter.com/oHmCGReLRR
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) January 15, 2020