The Blackhawks looked to rebound quickly after a frustrating loss on Thursday in which they squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 in overtime to the Lightning. This time, it was the Blackhawks who came back from a two-goal deficit, forced the game to overtime late, and then won in the shootout for a 4-3victory.
Less than three minutes into the first period, Anthony Cirelli scored to put the Lightning up 1-0. Malcolm Subban made two stops, but the Blackhawks failed to clear and another Cirelli attempt off the Point rebound went in.
Mitchell was called for hooking at the halfway mark, and the Lightning made the Blackhawks pay. Hedman’s point shot deflected off Alex Killorn’s body, and it was 2-0 Lightning, 21 seconds into the power play.
The Blackhawks would get one back on their own power play. After an impressive pass from Adam Boqvist, Alex DeBrincat scored career goal 100 to cut the Lightning’s lead in half. He won’t show up on the score sheet, but credit Carl Soderberg for completely screening Curtis McElhinney.
The first period ended with the Blackhawks trailing the Lightning 2-1 and the second started much like the first: with the Lightning bombarding Subban. Luckily, the netminder was up to the task with a little help from his goal post friends.
Despite the momentum being firmly on the Lightning’s side, the Blackhawks did what they’ve done best this season: jump on any opening to make something out of nothing. After dangling through the top of the offensive zone, Kane sent a beautiful pass to DeBrincat, who scored from a sharp angle and tied the game with 12:42 left in the second period.
The Blackhawks closed the period tied with the Lightning in spite of being out-attempted 18-5.
Like it’s Groundhog Day, the Lightning opened the third frame with a flurry of shots despite the Blackhawks being on the power play. Subban held the line on both special teams to keep the game tied.
Giving so much zone time to the Lightning, it was only a matter of time before it bit the Blackhawks. A rebound off a Killorn shot went straight to a streaking Ryan McDonagh, and the Lightning were back up 3-2 with 16:40 remaining.
The Blackhawks are nothing if not resilient this season and they answered back less than three minutes later. Keith’s point shot was partially blocked but the puck bounced directly to Dominik Kubalik who buried it. With that goal, the Blackhawks and Lighting were tied once again, this time 3-3.
That’s how the score remained in regulation, there’s obviously a glitch in the system, and the Blackhawks were once again headed to overtime.
No goals were scored, but the first 90 seconds of overtime was wild, heart attack-inducing, back-and-forth action. The Blackhawks closed out the period by killing off a Tampa power play for the final 1:56 of the frame. Luckily, there were no buzzer beaters tonight.
In the shootout, Subban was a wall and Philipp Kurashev was the only player to score. Blackhawks win, defeating the Lightning 4-3.
WHAT A GAME MALCOLM SUBBAN pic.twitter.com/ApQNHUoxxW— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) March 6, 2021
- Bad news is the Blackhawks couldn’t contain the Lightning like they did most of Thursday: the Lightning had more high danger chances in the first period on Friday than they did in all of Thursday’s game. The Blackhawks had a less than 30 percent expected goals share after 40 minutes. Not ideal.
- Good news is this Blackhawks team is like a pre-serum Steve Rogers — they’re going to get back up again no matter how much they’re knocked down. Teams from recent seasons would have deflated after the Hedman goal — but not these Blackhawks. It’s almost surprising how not surprising it is that they’re never out of a game, no matter the circumstances.
- Subban was locked in after a shaky start. He’s still a trampoline with rebounds, but he also didn’t have much help from the team in front, and he was great after the first period. You could tell how appreciative the rest of the Blackhawks team was by how they mobbed Subban after the shootout.
- Debrincat is on a 30-goal pace for this 56-game season. Not bad for a Novelty Act, eh?
- It’s great to see Kubalik taking off in terms of goal scoring at 5-on-5. He was doing everything right to start the season except find the back of the net
- Keith tied Steve Larmer for sixth place in assists in Blackhawks history with his assist on Kubalik’s goal.
- Calvin de Haan left the game in the in the third period after blocking a shot. Jeremy Colliton said after the game that he was expected to be fine, but that they’d know more tomorrow.
- This was the 11th time the Blackhawks have gone to overtime this season and you damn well know it won’t be the last. Just got to accept at this point that they want the fans to expire from nerves.
- It felt really great for them to win on the night Brent Seabrook announced he wouldn’t be lacing his skates up again. The defensemen gave his all to this team so it was only appropriate that the current Blackhawks would respect that with a victory. With no fans in the stands, it was like the team was playing just for Brent.
- Speaking of Seabrook, the tribute video played during game is below. Definitely recommend finding his intermission interview with Eddie O. Try not to tear up listening to it, I dare you.
- Malcolm Subban (CHI) — saved 39 of 42 shots
- Alex Debrincat (CHI) — 2 goals, including his 100th goal and 200th point in the NHL
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 2 assists
The Blackhawks face the Lightning for a third time in four days on Sunday at the United Center for a 1:30 p.m. start.