Along the Boards: Blackhawks lose 2–1 in overtime to Original Six foe Boston Bruins

  

Coming off Tuesday night’s overtime loss, the Blackhawks were looking to chip away at a three-point deficit in the wild card standings with a win against an Original Six opponent, the Boston Bruins. On paper, the Hawks were severely outmatched by the Bruins due to their comparatively poor defensive numbers. As of late though, Chicago has been able to win games with great goaltending, and they would have veteran goalie Robin Lehner (15–8–4, 2.86 goals against average) in net against Boston.

Early on, the game had a very “David vs. Goliath” feel, so the Hawks would need all they could get from Lehner. Chicago’s shaky defense led to 16 shots on goal in the first period. At one point, Lehner had to borrow a play primarily seen in soccer to block a shot from David Krejci, as the net minder went full extension to his right to keep the 0–0 tie.

The Hawks only had five shots on goal in the frame, none of them being quality looks. At times, it seemed like Boston was just toying with the home team. Chicago also went over 10 minutes without a shot on goal. The Blackhawks would need to dig deep to stay in this game.

It was very clear that Lehner was going to need some help in the second period and if the Hawks did not manufacture their own luck, they needed to rely on Boston making mistakes. That lone glimmer of hope would come in the form of Adam Boqvist taking one for the team at the 6:13 mark, as Krejci checked him into the boards to set up the two-minute power play. However, Boqvist would not return because of a shoulder injury. The Hawks were 29th in capitalizing on the power play compared to the Bruins, who were third in the penalty kill, so things were not looking good…or were they?

Black cats and the No. 13 are known as bad luck, but Alex DeBrincat struck for goal No. 13 in front of the net off a blocked shot from Kirby Dach. Boston’s Brad Marchand failed to clear the puck after the Dach block and the Cat took advantage. Patrick Kane and Dach got an assist on the power play goal as Chicago went up 1–0.

The Bruins would tie the game, however, when the Hawks made a costly mistake at the 12:49 mark. Sean Kuraly scored his fifth goal by beating Duncan Keith on the boards and skating out for separation before sending one between Lehner’s legs. Lehner simply missed this one. He moved his stick to the right at the last moment expecting a pass and paid for it. Anders Bjork and Matt Grzelcyk each got an assist on the goal. Lehner was doing everything he could to keep the Hawks in it. He was seeing double the amount of shots Jaroslav Halak was at this point (Lehner 26 for 27 and Halak 12 for 13.) The score remained 1–1 heading into the third period.

A very sloppy third period from both teams resulted in several penalties that opened the door for either team to take advantage. It would be easier to switch to list form for this:

  • 5:53 — Brandon Saad gets two minutes for slashing Bjork
  • 11:41 — Alexander Nylander gets two minutes for tripping David Pastrnak. Then, Pastrnak gets two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct on Nylander.
  • 14:41 — Chris Wagner gets two minutes for slashing Dach
  • 17:34 — Zach Smith gets two minutes for illegal check to the head of Torey Krug
  • 17:48 — Ryan Carpenter gets a penalty for arguing a call from the bench
  • 18:55 — Krug gets two minutes for tripping Olli Maatta

What an absolute mess.

The Hawks thought they had the game won late in the third period from a shorthanded goal from Drake Caggiula, but it was overturned because of a suspected hand pass from Maatta. It was later revealed by the officials that they had the call wrong. But, at the time, that did not stop the game from remaining 1–1 and the Blackhawks would have to see their second overtime game in as many days. They did, however, have over a minute left on a power play.

Unfortunately, it would not matter. Charlie McAvoy scored his first goal of the season despite the one-man disadvantage when he beat Dach and fooled Lehner for the overtime victory for the Bruins.

The Hawks were lucky to get out of that game with a point in the standings due to being severely outplayed by Boston in the early going. Lehner did all he could blocking 38 of 40 against a team that was rightfully better. Chicago still could have stolen one, but that matters little now.

The Blackhawks now begin a four-game road trip against teams they are competing with for a playoff spot—starting with the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Puck drop is at 6 p.m. CST and the Blackhawks are now 25–21–7 on the season.

Center Ice Forums Along the Boards: Blackhawks lose 2–1 in overtime to Original Six foe Boston Bruins

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