The Chicago Blackhawks headed into the SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday night without their star winger Patrick Kane. While nothing has been made official on Kane’s status — yet — ahead of the looming NHL trade deadline, the Blackhawks still had a game to play.
It took five extra minutes and and some tic-tac-toe but ultimately, the Blackhawks came out on top with a 4-3 win in the shootout.
Orland Park native David Gust with a rookie solo lap ahead of his NHL debut at age 29 with his hometown team. Man, what a moment for him. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/BB7uWXMN3v— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 26, 2023
Kane, along with Sam Lafferty were both out of the lineup due to “roster management” — but their absence allowed a new storyline to emerge.
As fate would have it, 29-year-old David Gust — a native of Orland Park who grew up as a Blackhawks fan — made his NHL debut on Saturday evening. On his first shift in an NHL game, Gust scored his first NHL goal to open the scoring in San Jose.
First game. First shift. First shot. First goal.— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 26, 2023
Welcome to the NHL, David Gust. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/93YyZbiENu
The Sharks responded in a hurry, with a goal from Nick Bonino tying the game at one goal apiece.
Nick Bonino only scores goals.— JD Young (@MyFryHole) February 26, 2023
1-1 #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/XmFi3dmoRz
The first period action continued, as Brett Seney turned on the jets and beat the Sharks defense, going bar down on Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen for his first goal as a member of the Blackhawks.
Brett Seney with an absolute snipe for his first goal as a member of Chicago. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/FvGQ8mzff7— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 26, 2023
However, the Blackhawks second lead of the game did not last long. Evgeny Svechnikov was able to find the back of the net and tied the game once again.
Evgeny Svechnikov ties it up for the #SJSharks!— JD Young (@MyFryHole) February 26, 2023
While the second period saw no scoring by either team, the Hawks were able to get a fast start to the third period with a goal by Max Domi less than 30 seconds into the period.
Max Domi — missing teeth and all — goes bar down to put Chicago ahead 3-2 just 16 seconds into the third period. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/NjRd0OyjFE— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 26, 2023
After a would-be Sharks goal was deemed offsides — thanks to a coach’s challenge issued by Luke Richardson — the Hawks held the lead for almost the remainder of the period. Almost was not enough, though. With the goalie pulled and an extra attacker, the Sharks tied the game late in the period on a goal by Erik Karlsson.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in overtime. Thus, for the second time in three games, the Blackhawks would have to earn a second point in a shootout, which they did, thanks to a shootout goal from Phil Kurashev and Petr Mrazek taking care of business in goal, leading to a 4-3 Blackhawks win — their fifth straight victory.
- Why does every Sharks goal song sounds like something you’d find on a “Jock Jamz” album?
- “Sharks” is one syllable. Fix your chant.
- It’s impressive how easy it is for the Hawks, as a collective, to fall severely out of position in their own end.
- Patrick Marleau’s jersey retirement ceremony forcing the game to start an hour late is some sort of cruel and unusual punishment in its own right. Haven’t we dealt with enough this
- For what its worth, Petr Mrazek settled in and really played well in net. Making 45 saves on 48 shots is nothing to joke about. Good work.
- Max Domi put eight shots on net. He was rewarded for this effort with a goal. Getting pucks to the front of the net and setting up opportunities for high percentage scoring is the best way for this group to make things happen. Keep putting those shots on!
- The Sharks’ five penalties were a brutal reminder of what this power play looks like without Kane (or Jonathan Toews for that matter) ... yikes!
- Sharks in all teal with matching buckets and pants is a sharp look for them. That might be the only thing for them to hold onto heading into the offseason but it’s something.
- Congratulations to David Gust. You made it.
#NHL GameScore Impact Card for Chicago Blackhawks on 2023-02-25:#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/0uz5yUaY0R— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) February 26, 2023
- David Gust (CHI) — First NHL goal on first NHL shift of first NHL game
- Petr Mrazek (CHI) — 45 saves on 48 shots, 3 for 3 in the shootout.
- Max Domi (CHI) — 1 goal, 8 shots on net
The Blackhawks continue their West Coast road trip when they take on the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Monday night at 9 p.m.