Just when it seemed like the Chicago Blackhawks were on their way to another sleepy, February loss, a late rally sent the visitors to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday night in Canada.
The first goal came in the first minute of the first period, courtesy of Patrick Kane:
Patrick Kane scores against the Ottawa Senators to make it 1-0 #OTTvsCHI #GoSensGo #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/QUm0AtZKlX— nopClips (@nopClips) February 18, 2023
That lead well into the second period, when Shane Pinto tied the game at one:
Shane Pinto scores against the Chicago Blackhawks to make it 1-1 #OTTvsCHI #GoSensGo #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/vIV8kbWegQ— nopClips (@nopClips) February 18, 2023
The rest of the second period was a rather boring affair. The third period was not.
First, Ottawa jumped out to a 3-1 lead thanks go goals from Claude Giroux and Brady Tkachuk. The Senators then went to the power play with about nine minutes left and appeared to be on their way to a win.
Sam Lafferty had other ideas:
Sam Lafferty scores a shorthanded goal against the Ottawa Senators to make it 3-2 #OTTvsCHI #GoSensGo #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/oPlskmke69— nopClips (@nopClips) February 18, 2023
That goal made it a 3-2 game and put Lafferty into a first-place tie for a league lead:
That goal ties Sam Lafferty with Vegas' Reilly Smith for the league lead with four shorthanded goals.— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) February 18, 2023
With about three minutes remaining, Ottawa still seemed like it was firmly in control. Then the aforementioned Kane reminded everyone of his ability when he skated in during a 2-on-1 and fired a perfectly placed shot into the net, tying the game at three:
Patrick Kane scores against the Ottawa Senators to make it 3-3 #OTTvsCHI #GoSensGo #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/lFnub7KHI0— nopClips (@nopClips) February 18, 2023
The game went to overtime at that score and, after a series of odd-man rushes in each direction, Tyler Johnson slid a puck over to Greece Lightning, who sent everyone in the road whites to the locker room with a smile:
Andreas Athanasiou scores against the Ottawa Senators to make it 4-3 #OTTvsCHI #GoSensGo #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/wtUaiscmhp— nopClips (@nopClips) February 18, 2023
- Perhaps my least favorite trope on the internet is when someone tweets something like, “But I was told (insert ridiculous statement here that no one is actually saying but I’m constructing this strawman to make me look intelligent).” So, believe me when I tell you, dear reader, that there are plenty of corners of the hockey world who legitimately believe that Kane is cooked/washed/done, etc. Feels like word got back to Kane on all those claims because there were glimpses of the old No. 88 a handful of times this evening. He may not turn the clock back to 2013 but it does feel like people who are tripping over themselves to make this pronounce his career dead are doing so prematurely.
- Kane also achieved some history with that second goal:
Patrick Kane is climbing up this list. @NHLBlackhawks | #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/31WWngBkpl— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) February 18, 2023
- It feels like we’re approaching the final week or two of Lafferty’s time with the Blackhawks, because he’s going to play himself into a trade to some contending team before the deadline. While we still can, let’s just say that Lafferty rules and he’s absolutely the type of player who’d be a cult hero on a contending team. Lafferty was given an opportunity in Chicago that wasn’t going to be available with the Pittsburgh Penguins because of their surplus of forwards. Lafferty’s turned that opportunity into the best season of his career and now it seems he’ll get a chance to pursue Lord Stanley with some contending team.
- Speaking of players who may be getting traded soon, that was an excellent play by Jake McCabe to set up Kane’s first goal. Stepping up at the opposing blue line to poke-check a puck free feels like the risky type of play that can only be successfully executed by a defenseman who’s playing with confidence — and McCabe seems to be that way right now.
Nice play by Jake McCabe on the Patrick Kane goal. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/nj1DfoZ1En— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 18, 2023
Similar to Lafferty, there’d be a healthy portion of the fan base on the McCabe bandwagon were this team playoff-bound.
- We’ll see if it’s still the case in March and April, but rallying from a two-goal deficit in the third period suggests that, if nothing else, Richardson has this team willing to compete in games that don’t really matter. And that could be a good sign of better things to come, should the games start to matter again soon.
- During the boredom that overtook the second period, I found myself wondering what it’d take for DeBrincat to somehow end up back in Chicago. Seems insane, right? Ottawa traded for the guy last July and to think they’d only get one season out of him — given the price — would be absurd. But if I was going to dream up some crazy scenario that led to such an occurrence it’d be something like ...
(/wind chimes sound)
Contract negotiations between DeBrincat and Ottawa never go anywhere, to the point that DeBrincat becomes so dissatisfied with the process that leaks begin to emerge from DeBrincat’s camp, saying he wants a trade out of Ottawa over the summer. Hearing this, Kyle Davidson decides that the Blackhawks’ rebuild is fast-tracked because they’ve just drafted Connor Bedard No. 1 overall and he’s looking to make a big-name acquisition to keep things rolling while also conceding that, behind top guys like Lukas Reichel and Frank Nazar, the pipeline is still woefully lacking in future top-six talent. So, Davidson picks up a phone and offers some some of the six picks that the Blackhawks have in the first three rounds of the 2024 NHL Draft and packages that with one of the 89 blue-line prospects the team has — because there are only so many spaces available on the NHL roster — to bring DeBrincat back to Chicago. Then, with some of the $42 million in projected cap space (per the excellent CapFriendly) for next season, Davidson signs the 25-year-old DeBrincat to a long-term deal.
(/lights a smoke)
Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.
#NHL GameScore Impact Card for Chicago Blackhawks on 2023-02-17:#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/YglIIKhGpy— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) February 18, 2023
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 2 goals
- Jake McCabe (CHI) — 2 assists, 71.93 expected goal share in 18:04 of 5-on-5 ice time
- Max Domi (CHI) — 2 assists (both primary)
The Blackhawks return to the United Center on Sunday night to host the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 5 p.m. puck drop.