On Niklas Hjalmarsson Legacy Night, with Duncan Keith back at the United Center for the first time as an opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in overtime.
The Blackhawks started the scoring in the game just over two minutes in when Sam Lafferty collected a pass from Philipp Kurashev, kicked the puck to himself and just sort of banked it in off of Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen:
Not a pretty goal but an effective one.
Later in the first period, Leon Draisaitl, posted near the net in high-danger territory, got the puck off a give-and-go play with Connor McDavid on the power play (due to the Blackhawks’ second too many men penalty) and scored a much prettier goal, tying the game at one.
Before that goal could really settle in for the Oilers, however, the Blackhawks responded a few minutes later. Patrick Kane took in a pass from Dylan Strome (who gained it off a play along the wall by Caleb Jones) and shot past Koskinen:
The Hawks take back the lead pic.twitter.com/TyPflqasIC— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) March 4, 2022
Before the first period was over, Evander Kane scored for the Oilers, beating Jones to the high-danger area and going five-hole on Marc-Andre Fleury off of a pass from Draisaitl, sending the game to the first intermission in a 2-2 tie.
At the beginning of the second period, Brandon Hagel came very close to getting another lead for the Blackhawks but was ultimately denied on that scoring opportunity.
After a four-goal first period, the second frame was much quieter, as neither side was able to score despite a number of chances in each direction.
That changed early in the third period, though. Dominik Kubalik, who served both too many men penalties in the first, scored off a turnover by Koskinen, as the goaltender played the puck right to a fast-skating Kubalik:
Evander Kane scored the game-tying goal with 50 seconds left in regulation and the net empty for the Oilers, as a defensive stick from Seth Jones tipped the puck past Fleury and into the net.
With a power-play opportunity in overtime thanks to a Draisaitl tripping penalty against Caleb Jones, Alex DeBrincat ended the game when he was left with an open net as Koskinen was pulled out of position by Kane, and DeBrincat sunk the shot for the overtime win — the Blackhawks’ second victory against Edmonton this season.
- The Blackhawks welcomed Duncan Keith, as he came to the United Center for the first time as a member of an opposing team. Keith finished the night with 20:45 of ice time, six shot attempts and a penalty. The other two games against the Oilers this season were in Edmonton.
- The Blackhawks secured four leads in this game (when including the overtime goal) and three of them almost promptly got erased. This one was as close as games have been for the Blackhawks this season, which is likely good experience for the few young players on the Blackhawks’ roster.
- The Blackhawks continued to dominate in the high-danger areas against the Oilers, generating 10 chances to the Oilers’ 7 while outshooting Edmonton 28-26 at 5-on-5. However, the Oilers still finished with 2.11 expected goals to Chicago’s 2.06, so some of those low-risk shots have gotta come from closer in.
- In 59 seconds of 3-on-3 hockey before the Draisaitl penalty, there were zero shot attempts and zero shots on goal. These teams were really just existing on ice and not doing anything for a full minute. Alright.
- The leader among the Blackhawks in expected goals this game: Connor Murphy, with 0.73. How, you might ask? Well he had one shot, three attempts and nothing from high danger, so you tell me (it was very likely his shot that ended up near an empty net). Second was DeBrincat due to the overtime winner, and again, he was essentially shooting at an open net.
- Fleury faced 3.05 expected goals against and allowed three, so it wasn’t his worst night but he’s had far better.
- You think a line with Strome, Kubalik and Kane was the Blackhawks’ best this game? Well, they were close, with a 66.55 percent expected goal share and a 60 percent shot share. But a line that had two of its players returning from injury was the Blackhawks’ best, as Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Toews and DeBrincat finished with a 70.95 expected goal share and a 66.67 percent shot share. The third name makes it a lot less surprising.
- Philipp Kurashev gets a primary assist and still plays just 7:37 while a returning Johnson, who finished the night with one shot and a hit taken, finished with 11:10. Kurashev’s linemates, contending for the worst line on the night for Chicago, played 10:58 (Ryan Carpenter) and 10:01 (Lafferty). Kyle Davidson better have been joking about Derek King being a potential coaching candidate after this season cause King #hatesthekids.
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A
- Evander Kane (EDM) — 2 G
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — GWG
The Blackhawks head to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers on Saturday at 2 p.m. before a second weekend game on Sunday back in Chicago against the Lightning.