Gustav Forsling dished two assists and scored his first game-winning goal in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Sabres on Friday night. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it’s a comeback for two points that we’ll all thankfully take to end a five-game losing streak.
Let’s start with the good: The Blackhawks led 95-41 in shot attempts and 51-28 in shots on goal in this game. They had the puck most of the night, and turned that into a ton of scoring chances. Looking just at those of the high-danger variety, Chicago held a 17-7 advantage, per Natural Stat Trick.
So this was indeed the Blackhawks pushing around an inferior opponent just like we had hoped for. It’s just that the actual results weren’t nearly as impressive as the Sabres led for a big chunk of the contest.
It wasn’t until Tommy Wingels came through with a huge shorthanded goal late in the third period that the Blackhawks tied things up. Forsling set up that goal, too, by firing the shot on net that Wingels deflected to score the goal.
Then came a scary moment in overtime when Jack Eichel found a burst of energy to blow by Forsling for a breakaway. The defenseman ended up grabbing Eichel’s jersey on the play to set up a penalty shot that Corey Crawford was thankfully up to task for.
Forsling’s game-winner came with just five seconds left in overtime to avoid a shootout. It’s his first three-point game in the NHL, and it comes at the perfect time for a desperate team.
CHI goals: DeBrincat (12), Wingels (3), Forsling (3)
BUF goals: Pominville (8), Okposo (4)
They earned this win
Not that it will make you feel way better about how dang close this game was, but the Blackhawks deserved to win Friday. They topped the Sabres in expected goals, 4.4 to 1.99, according to Corsica. That shouldn’t be surprising given they led 95-41 in overall shot attempts, 68-28 in 5-on-5 shot attempts, and 51-28 in shots on goal. This wasn’t a bad performance. It was just an unlucky one to some degree until the late rally.
The Keith-Seabrook power play unit needs to be banished
The Blackhawks entered Friday with over 29 minutes of power play time where Keith and Seabrook were both on the ice. They scored zero goals in what amounted to over 14 power plays. For some reason, the coaching staff went back to that duo with the man advantage against Buffalo, and it didn’t lead to anything good. What were they thinking? I don’t get it.
Brandon Saad needs to get going
For the early part of this season, Saad was so good with six goals and two assists in eight games. Since then, he has just four goals and three assists in 23 games, which simply won’t cut it from a top-six winger making as much money as he does. Yes, he earned an assist on Forsling’s game-winner, but a dime during 3-on-3 won’t change what’s been a frustrating slump. For some perspective, Artemi Panarin recorded five assists tonight for the Blue Jackets. Not that the Hawks should be regretting that trade yet, but Saad isn’t producing enough right now.
- Gustav Forsling (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists, 5 SOG
- Robin Lehner (BUF) — 48 saves on 51 shots
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 goal