It was the Blackhawks’ 10th consecutive win against the Penguins.
It didn’t start off great, with Pittsburgh scoring twice within the first five minutes on goals from Patric Hornqvist and Jake Guentzel.
Alex DeBrincat responded late in the first period on the power play to cut the Penguins lead to 2-1. Chris Kunitz scored his first goal as a Blackhawk and his first since April 3, 2018. The Penguins honored Kunitz during a pregame ceremony for being on the 2009 Stanley Cup championship team.
Derick Brassard put Pittsburgh back on top midway through the second period.
Duncan Keith responded with his first goal of the season to tie the game once again. Keith’s goal marked his first since April 4, 2018, against the Blues when he scored with 8.5 seconds left in the third period to help the Blackhawks rally from a 3-1 deficit.
Dylan Strome scored less than two minutes into the third period to give the Blackhawks their first lead of the night, and one they would hold on to.
The defense buckled down, and Cam Ward looked solid through the final frame to finish with 31 saves.
Jonathan Toews added his 17th goal of the season with an empty-netter. Patrick Kane had three assists on the night, including two primary helpers on the opening and game-winning goals
The Blackhawks return to Chicago to play the second half of a back-to-back Monday night against the Flames at the United Center.
Finally... a win
So far, 2019 has not been good to the Chicago sports community. The Blackhawks got Chicago their first win of 2019.
Jan. 1: The Blackhawks lost the Winter Classic.
Jan. 2: The Bulls lost.
Jan. 3: The Blackhawks lost again.
Jan. 4: The Bulls lost again.
None of the Chicago teams played Saturday, and Sunday the Bulls lost and the Bears...well, it’s too soon to discuss that.
Who would have thought the Hawks would be the team to get Chicago the first win of 2019 this “late” into the new year?
Chris Kunitz scored a goal... in 2019
It’s been discussed ad nauseam, the Kunitz signing wasn’t one of general manager Stan Bowman’s good ones. But, Kunitz almost had to play on the 10-year reunion of Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup team. Kunitz wasn’t even bad, he scored a goal! A good goal! His first as a Blackhawk and first since last April.
DeBrincat, Strome are well worth the money
Entering this season, the Blackhawks knew they’d have to re-sign two young pieces of their future core, DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz. Schmaltz struggled and was shipped out to Arizona for Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome. Both Schmaltz and Strome are proving their potential with Chicago. Strome has seven goals with the Blackhawks, while Schmaltz has tallied five of his seven goals this season with Arizona.
Without Schmaltz, the Blackhawks only need to lock up DeBrincat to a long-term pay day. Strome is proving is value, but I’m not ready to allocate big money to him yet.
- Patrick Kane (3 assists)
- Chris Kunitz (1 goal)
- Jonathan Toews (1 goal, 1 assist)