With points in their last three games — including a regulation win against the Carolina Hurricane last Thursday — the Blackhawks entered Sunday’s game with the Stars hoping to keep the momentum going. Thankfully, they did just that with Alex Debrincat scoring twice to give the Hawks a 2-1 victory — their first overtime win of the season.
The Blackhawks had a good start to the period, outshooting the Stars 7-1 in the first 10 minutes. Debrincat knocked the puck into the net early, but it was immediately waved off for an obvious high-stick.
The Blackhawks best chance of the period was off a Brandon Hagel breakaway. Hagel made an aggressive move to pick off a zone exit pass by the Stars and jetted down the middle of the ice for an in-close five-hole attempt. Jake Oettinger made the save to keep the game scoreless.
At 11:05 mark of the first, Connor Murphy was called for interference, and the Stars took control and dominated play through the rest of the period. Shots ended 10 to 9 in favor of the Stars but it was still scoreless after one.
The second period opened with the Blackhawks on the penalty kill as Soderberg was whistled for tripping in the final seconds of the first. The penalty kill was a bit dicey, but it stopped the second best power play in the league for the second time in the game.
Not long after the power play expired, Jamie Benn took exception to Nikita Zadorov’s hard check to rookie Ty Dellandrea and they settled their dispute with fists.
Chicago opened the scoring at 12:29 of the second on a passing play from Patrick Kane to Dylan Strome to Debrincat, who scored off a one-timer into a gaping cage.
The Stars continued to control play at 5-on-5 but the period ended with the Blackhawks up 1-0.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Malcolm Subban made a sliding toe-save against Denis Gurianov to keep the Blackhawks on top.
Mattias Janmark was called for tripping 7:26 into the third and the Stars scored just seconds after their power play expired for a tie game. Subban made the initial save on Miro Heiskanen’s point shot, but it bounced out, hit Jason Robertson, and trickled into the net. A bad penalty call led to a bad-bounce goal against.
Despite strong pressure from the Blackhawks, the third period ended in a 1-1 tie, sending them to their fifth overtime in the last ten games.
Overtime. Because it's the Blackhawks' thing.— Tracey Myers (@Tramyers_NHL) February 7, 2021
Fate would be kinder to the Blackhawks this game. After a give-and-go with Kane on the rush, Debrincat scored at 2:56 in overtime and the Blackhawks take the game 2-1.
HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN!
- A miracle on ice has happened once again: the Blackhawks have won a game in overtime.
- The Blackhawks have scored a power play goal in 11 of their 13 games. One of the improvements this season have been the adjustments made in-game. For example, the first unit had tried the backdoor pass to Debrincat twice prior to it working, but they switched up Strome and Kane on the third attempt and scored. This gives me hope that when the power play comes back down to earth — and unfortunately it will — it’ll be gradual rather than fall off a cliff.
- The shot metrics were slanted in favor of the Stars at 5-on-5, but credit to the Blackhawks for preventing the Stars from setting up their typical cycle game, limiting them to mostly one-offs and keeping them outside the high-danger areas of the ice.
- Subban still has little to no rebound control, but he was great positionally and kept the Hawks in it when needed. He deserved his first win with the Blackhawks.
- Interestingly, the Blackhawks have one of the best goaltending tandems in the league, in terms of save percentage. Lankinen has a .926 save percentage and Subban is now at .913 — small samples still but neat nonetheless.
NHL save percentage by division:— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) February 7, 2021
- In the other net, Oettinger also kept the game close as the Blackhawks had an overwhelming 59.47 percent of the expected goals in all situations.
- This was arguably Zadorov’s best game of the season. He played the body smartly, made some great plays at the blue line, and is a positive force on the penalty kill.
- Hagel continued to impress — the offense may never be there but he’ll keep opposing defensemen and goalies on their toes while flipping the ice effectively in favor of the Hawks.
- Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin continue to be delights to watch.
- There was much angst about Debrincat’s slump last season — many ignoring the commonality of young players having down seasons early in their careers — but he’s shutting those doubters up. Debrincat extended his point streak to five games and has the best points per game average (1.33) on the team.
Hawks Win!!! DEBRINCAT! pic.twitter.com/ZkK70uiM9p— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) February 7, 2021
- Alex Debrincat (CHI) — 2 goals
- Malcolm Subban (CHI) — 31 saves on 32 shots, first win
- Jake Oettinger (DAL) — 33 saves on 34 shots
The Blackhawks face the Stars again on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center for a 7:30 p.m. start.