Hagel and Strome pace Blackhawks to 3–2 shootout win over Islanders

  

The Chicago Blackhawks strolled into the new UBS Arena fresh off a 3–2 loss down the road to the New York Rangers on Saturday. Interim Head Coach Derek King went back to his top option in net in Marc-Andre Fleury and looked to get back into the winning ways that has the Blackhawks playing to a 7–4 record with the new boss behind the bench.

King has his team playing with confidence and playing a more structured game in their own defensive zone, a huge change from what Blackhawks fans saw early in the season. The kicker? King has not come in and made a huge adjustment. His players are playing responsibly in their own zone (especially the forwards) and have been a tough team to play against in the neutral zone. Mix in the fact that the team does not look shaken after a goal, King has been a breath of fresh air for the Blackhawks.

If there was any time for the Blackhawks to look shook, it would have been Sunday, as Islander defenseman Noah Dobson scored the game-tying goal with less than three seconds left to tie the contest at 2–2. Fleury had no chance with a great screen in front, and the Blackhawks of the early season most certainly would have looked like deer in headlights, but not Sunday.

In overtime, neither team generated many chances, as the Islanders controlled much of the play, but could not muster a shot in the first four minutes of action. At the end of the uneventful five minutes, Chicago bested the home team in the shootout.

Patrick Kane beat Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov with his patented “slowdown” move and backed Varlamov deep into his net that left the top shelf wide open for the future Hockey Hall of Famer, and Kane buried the puck in the back of the net for what would be the only goal scored in the shootout to give the visitors a 3–2 victory.

Chicago took an early lead, scoring the only goal of the opening period when a shot from the left circle from Alex DeBrincat caromed off Brandon Hagel’s shin pad and found its way behind Varlamov for the former sixth-round draft pick’s eighth goal of the season.

Hagel’s power play goal was matched in the middle of the second period when forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau buried his second of the season behind Fleury after defenseman Riley Stillman was sent off for roughing. Pageau’s redirect on a point shot left nothing that Fleury could do.

Chicago would retake the lead 2–1 when forward Dylan Strome beat Varlamov after a loose puck found itself on Strome’s stick, and the forward buried his second goal of the season. The goal was set up after a nice rush from defenseman Erik Gustafsson through the neutral zone into the offensive zone.

The goal stood as the difference until Dobson’s last-second goal sent the game into overtime.

Fleury’s victory gave the Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, native his 499th career victory.

Analysis

Kirby Dach did not find his way onto the scoresheet, but he was in front on a few separate occasions and did have an excellent chance to bury a shot in front, but could not beat Varlamov.

Fleury did not see a ton of action, as the stingy Blackhawks defense would only give up 24 shots to the Islanders.

Chicago keeps winning under King. With the victory, Chicago has proven they can win on most nights when they play with confidence.

The Blackhawks return to action on Tuesday, hosting the New York Rangers for a 7:30 p.m. CST puck drop at the United Center.

Center Ice Forums Hagel and Strome pace Blackhawks to 2–1 shootout win over Islanders

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