It took five rounds, but Kirby Dach scored the shootout winner in a 2-1 victory for the Blackhawks over the Devils on Friday at Prudential Center.
Alex DeBrincat picked up a power play goal to give him goals in back-to-back games for the first time this season and Corey Crawford racked up 29 saves, including eight of the high-danger variety, in his 250th career win.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dach scored for Chicago in the shootout. Toews’ conversion moved him into second all-time in the NHL with 47 career shootout goals.
The Blackhawks secured 4-out-4 possible points on the road trip and moved to 12-12-5.
How it Happened
The Blackhawks put them self behind the eight ball almost immediately. Within the first five minutes they took two penalties, one being a delay of game by Alex Nylander on the first shift of the game. It’s Chicago’s second straight game taking penalties in the first shift after Kane went to the sin bin for tripping against Boston on Thursday.
However, the Blackhawks escaped and even managed to get a short-handed breakaway from Brandon Saad that he couldn’t convert. Near the end of the second penalty kill Dennis Gilbert laid out Jack Hughes, which got Wayne Simmonds to drop the gloves with Gilbert for a pretty even scrap:
With 7:30 minutes left in the first period, Zack Smith took a dreaded offensive zone penalty putting the Blackhawks short-handed for the third time. The Devils didn’t waste another opportunity on the man advantage as Taylor Hall sniped one past a screened Crawford:
Late in the opening period, Dach had an impressive couple of shifts where he had a takeaway on a breakout attempt by New Jersey and then had high-danger scoring chance in tight on MacKenzie Blackwood.
The Blackhawks were rewarded with a power play eight minutes into the second period after Kane dangled past Sami Vatanen on an offensive zone entry and drew a hooking call.
Dylan Strome knocked down a tipped Kane pass from mid-air, settled it down to his stick and fed Kane who just missed on a wrister. The rebound bounced right to DeBrincat who shoved it past the goal line with his backhand:
Not much later Slater Koekkoek made a great diving block to save a goal from the Devils and then the Blackhawks got a jolt of energy. Erik Gustafsson fired a bomb from the point just wide and then David Kampf had a chance from the low slot off a rebound.
In the last thirty seconds of the middle frame, Jonathan Toews set up Ryan Carpenter perfectly backdoor for a scoring chance and then Hughes sent a breakaway pass to Miles Wood, but Crawford was up to the task.
Chicago went back to the penalty kill six minutes into the third, but Koekkoek had a nice block and the shorthanded units played aggressively to kill off Smith’s second offensive zone penalty of the game.
Dominik Kubalik got pushed up to the top line with Saad and Toews near the end of regulation and collected a scoring chance, but Blackwood denied Kubalik and added another stop to his 29-save performance.
During overtime, Hughes had the best scoring opportunity with a dangerous shot from the slot, but Crawford stopped it and gave no rebound.
With a second left, Gustafsson had an opportunity from the top of the left-circle, but fired a wrister high.
In the shootout:
Jonathan Toews: ✅— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 7, 2019
Nikita Gusev: ✅
Patrick Kane: ✅
Jesper Boqvist: ✅
Alex DeBrincat: ❌
Kyle Palmieri: ❌
Dylan Strome: ❌
Taylor Hall: ❌
Kirby Dach: ✅
Jack Hughes: ❌#Blackhawks beat Devils 2-1 in a shootout.
Dach’s beautiful bar down winner:
Kid is still 18 years old. Ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/VC0LniG6P7— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) December 7, 2019
Colliton on using Dach in the shootout:— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) December 7, 2019
"He wants the ball, he wants to go. So those are the type of guys you want to use in those situations, because they want to be in that spot and they're confident and typically that's what you need to score. He came through for the team."
1. Dylan Strome (CHI) - One assist, two shots, three blocks, 56.4 CF%, 21:10 TOI
2. Corey Crawford (CHI) - 29 saves, 2.04 expected goals against
3. Slater Koekkoek (CHI/NJ) - One shot, four blocks, two takeaways, 51.7 CF%, 18:34 TOI