Blackhawks survive Caps’ comeback, win 5–4 in overtime

  

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up two points on Wednesday night against the visiting Washington Capitals, but the victory ended up being far more nerve-wracking than the hosts had hoped, escaping with a 5–4 overtime win.

The evening began on a positive note, as the Blackhawks celebrated goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after having earned the 500th win of his career last Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. During pregame warmups, every Blackhawks player donned a Fleury jersey with No. 500 on the back. Then, prior to puck drop, Fleury was honored with a video tribute highlighting the various milestones and memories from his illustrious NHL career and received video messages from the other two members of the 500 win club, Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.

Finally, Fleury was presented with a custom mask signifying his 500 victories, which was unveiled by fellow Chicago netminder Kevin Lankinen.

First period

Once the game got underway, the excitement died down, as not much happened in the opening frame. The Blackhawks did have two power play opportunities, but were unable to convert. Shots favored Washington 13–6 in the first period.

Second period

Things opened up in the second, as longtime great sniper Alex Ovechkin started the scoring with a power play tally 3:36 into the period, clanking a quick wrister off the post and in past Fleury, giving the Capitals a 1–0 lead. The strike was Ovechkin’s 274th career power play goal, tying him for the most in NHL history with Dave Andreychuk.

Washington kept pushing, but Fleury kept the game close, including robbing Ovechkin of a second goal moments later.

Chicago gained another opportunity on the man advantage, as Martin Fehervary and Nic Dowd took penalties in close proximity, giving the Hawks a brief 5-on-3 chance. The Blackhawks wasted no time capitalizing, as quick puck movement off the ensuing face-off resulted in Patrick Kane finding Alex DeBrincat with a slick cross-crease pass for a backdoor slam dunk, knotting up the score at 1–1 with 6:05 remaining in the stanza.

With DeBrincat’s marker coming on the two-man advantage, the Hawks maintained a one-man power play in the aftermath, and again made lightning-quick work of the opportunity, as Kirby Dach steamed into the Washington zone off the face-off. Dach’s bid was stopped, but Philipp Kurashev was able to chip home the rebound for his first goal of the season and a 2–1 Chicago lead just 18 seconds after DeBrincat’s tally.

The Blackhawks’ scoring frenzy continued, as just 16 ticks later, as MacKenzie Entwistle tapped in a Brandon Hagel rebound for his third of the season. Before you could have blinked, Chicago had stormed to a 3–1 lead.

However, the Caps were able to stop the bleeding and answered with a strike of their own in the final minute of the frame, as Daniel Sprong snapped a perfectly placed shot over Fleury’s shoulder to cut the gap to 3–2 with 41.3 seconds left.

Third period

Washington carried the momentum into the third, where Lars Eller would level the score at 3–3 with 8:03 remaining on a goal Fleury would have liked to have back.

But, the Blackhawks fought back, earning another man advantage two minutes later. The Hawks’ power play would stay red hot on the evening, cashing in for the third time on DeBrincat’s second of the night off a nifty cross-slot feed from Brandon Hagel, putting the home team back on top at 4–3 with 5:00 left on the clock.

Time ticked down to the final seconds of regulation with Washington pushing for an equalizer. It appeared as though the Hawks might escape the onslaught, but the Capitals finally did tally their tying marker, as Conor Sheary fired home a pass from Ovechkin to send the game to overtime at 4–4.

Overtime

Washington largely controlled the first minute of the extra frame before Kane bodied Sheary off the puck to cause a 2-on-1 break for Dach and Caleb Jones. Dach ultimately elected to shoot, but was stopped by Ilya Samsonov. However, the puck sat free in the crease and Jones was able to get his stick on it and send it to the back of the net. Needless to say, Jones picked the right time to pick up his first goal as a Blackhawk, giving his squad a 5–4 overtime victory.

Analysis

There were good things and bad things during the game, but perhaps the brightest spot for the Hawks was their power play, converting on three of their opportunities. After missing on a golden chance in the first period, DeBrincat was able to put away two of those man-advantage strikes to push his season goal total to 16. Jones had a quality return to the lineup, with a power play assist to go along with the game-winning tally. Dach, Hagel and Kane each registered a pair of helpers to round out the multi-point efforts for the victors.

Of course, allowing the Caps to tie the game on two occasions in the third period was a lowlight for the evening, but the Blackhawks did still manage to find a way to pick up two points against a quality opponent.

Chicago returns to action on Friday, hosting the Nashville Predators in a Central Division clash. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.

Center Ice Forums Blackhawks survive Caps’ comeback, win 5–4 in overtime

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