The Blackhawks continued to be a roller coaster of a team, coming back from a 2-0 deficit against the Blue Jackets, to get Robin Lehner’s first shootout victory of the season for a 3-2 win Sunday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
With the win today, Robin Lehner ended his seven-game losing streak in shootouts dating back to March 10, 2018. He's 9-23 in shootouts during his NHL career. #Blackhawks— Brandon (@brandonmcain) December 30, 2019
Lehner kept the Blackhawks in the game for the first two periods, making 31 saves on 33 shots in the game, as Chicago failed to get much action on the opposing net and Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo only faced 12 shots in the first 40 minutes. The Blue Jackets blocking nearly half of the Blackhawks’ shot attempts didn’t help matters (Columbus had 23 blocks in the game).
The Blackhawks got goals from Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson and the Blue Jackets from Riley Nash and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both scored in the shootout.
How it Happened
The scoring started less than seven minutes into the game, as Riley Nash was allowed room to enter the zone by the Slater Koekkoek and Dennis Gilbert pairing and Nash’s shot deflected off of Koekkoek’s skate.
The Blue Jackets would follow that goal up with another one 12 minutes later:
Gustafsson coughed up the puck in his own zone and proceeded to play some of the poorest defense the Blackhawks have seen this season, choosing not to cover any one of the Blue Jackets and instead... sitting next to the net? A sincerely bad play from Gustafsson.
The second period would be scoreless, but the Blackhawks picked up the pace and the game opened up with scoring chances from both teams. Columbus had 10 in all situations, including six high-danger opportunities that Lehner denied. Chicago had six scoring chances. Here’s one from a great give-and-go from Kane and Adam Boqvist:
Kane to Boqvist. Wowzer. pic.twitter.com/pO1EnLlJoC— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) December 29, 2019
In the third, the Blackhawks started the comeback with a deflection from Dylan Strome:
A great shot from Murphy to shoot it quickly and get it on net. Strome has been hot as a playmaker in recent games, but this goal breaks an eight-game drought for the young center.
Gustafsson would redeem his earlier bad play with a goal on the power play to tie the game:
The Blackhawks had gotten just one shot in their last six minutes of power-play time before Gustafsson’s goal and were zero for their last 14 opportunities.
Chicago dominated possession in both the third period and in overtime, getting 18 shots in the last 25 minutes to just 11 from Columbus.
Lehner made a chest save on Dubois in the shootout, Kane and Toews provided goal support and then the post came to the rescue against Nathan Gerbe to complete the comeback victory.
John Tortorella rips into the refs and the NHL review process before walking out of his press conference pic.twitter.com/1USZBloGv6— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 30, 2019
1. Robin Lehner (CHI) — 31 saves, eight high-danger, 2.33 expected goals against
2. Dylan Strome (CHI) — 1 goal, 3 shots, 1 penalty drawn
3. Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBJ) — 1 goal, 4 shots, 2 shots blocked
The Blackhawks continue their three-game road trip against the Flames on Tuesday at 8.