After much was left to be desired from the top line over the past few games, the top line came out to play in a 3-2 OT victory for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks defeated the Florida Panthers (12-14-5) to complete the sweep of their three game homestand, earning all six of the six total points available.
The game opened with a decent amount of back and forth hockey from both sides. Chicago (15-11-5) traded rushes with Florida throughout the opening fifteen minutes of the first period. A period where both teams shot the puck on net nine times was a back and forth affair with a few of Chicago’s chances nearly missing James Reimer. That changed in the last five minutes when Alex DeBrincat dished a perfect pass to Brandon Saad for a one-timer to open the scoring. The Hawks took their 1-0 lead to the locker room at the end of the first period.
Florida came back in the second period with a purpose, as the Panthers would pepper Corey Crawford with seventeen shots on goal. With the Hawks only able to put five on goal, Florida controlled the pace throughout most of the second period. Nick Bjugstad would side a beautiful pass from Aleksander Barkov between the pipes to tie the game midway through the second period. This happened after Jan Rutta left the game with an upper body injury after big hit along the boards.
Down to only five defensemen in the lineup, the Hawks saw another goal go against them as Jamie McGinn tallied the second consecutive Panther goal at the 3:53 mark in the third. Chicago would answer though, as Alex DeBrincat fed Brandon Saad to create a two on one rush in the offensive zone. Saad thew a beautiful pass across to Jonathan Toews who blasted home his third goal in five games to tie the game.
In the overtime period, both teams traded A+ chances until Patrick Kane FINALLY put the game away on a breakaway. The Hawks will head to Winnipeg on Thursday night to take on the Winnipeg Jets.
CHI Goals: Saad (11), Toews (9), Kane (11)
FLA Goals: Bjugstad (8), McGinn (5)
The Toews line is playing like the A(‘s) line again (sorry not sorry)
With the captain scoring his third goal in five games, Saad notching two points tonight (three in his last three games), and the Cat continuing to impress (19 points in his last 20 games), the “A” line is truly playing like the A line once again. Bet your bottom dollar that Q will use this rotation often given the amount of success it’s been able to produce as of late.
Hot damn it’s nice to be on a winning streak once again
Tonight’s win completes a season sweep of the Florida Panthers, AND a six point home-stand for the Chicago Blackhawks after dropping five straight beforehand. GREAT to see big names like Kane, Saad, and Toews step up and get the win.
Get well soon, Jan Rutta
Holy crap, playing with only five defensemen was damn near catastrophic and shouldn’t be a thing. Also, Rutta is my guy so PLEASE GET WELL SOON
In case you're wondering, I'm not handling Rutta's injury well... pic.twitter.com/RxsoPuWJ5E— Brad Repplinger (@TCRBrad) December 13, 2017
- Brandon Saad (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 game-winning goal