Vincent Hinostroza finally gets a taste of Blackhawks success
After a bumpy start to his NHL career, Vincent Hinostroza found himself leading the charge in an exciting Blackhawks comeback victory in Vancouver.
Things can move quickly when you’re a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. Over the past few weeks, Vincent Hinostroza went from healthy scratch to top-line left winger to sidelined with a concussion. In his return, he was the Blackhawks’ leading man in a 4-3 comeback win over the Canucks on Saturday night.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate just how awesome this was. Hinostroza, a 2012 sixth-round pick out of Bartlett, Ill., took a long road to Chicago. He played two years at the University of Notre Dame, then spent last season polishing his game in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs.
The Blackhawks kept him out of training camp this season, but his role and playing time have wildly fluctuated. That can be a difficult situation for any player, let alone a 22-year-old trying to figure out his first stint in the NHL. A concussion suffered earlier in the week, which caused him to miss a game, didn’t help matters.
The Blackhawks are trying to show confidence in their young forwards, though, and you can see how that’ll leave a mark in the long run.
"Guys are saying, we’re coming back, there’s no way we’re losing this one. It’s definitely cool to hear that,” Hinostroza said of his teammates during the second intermission. At the time, the team was trailing 3-0. Gee, I wonder where these guys get those crazy ideas from?
Let’s start with the goal — Hinostroza’s first in the NHL — which came in the third after the Blackhawks had already trimmed the deficit to 3-1. Not long after that, he cut the Canucks’ lead to 3-2 with a great follow-up on his initial shot attempt:
Bartlett native Vinnie Hinostroza gets the first goal of his NHL career! 3-2 Vancouver. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/29RSQKycAB— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) November 20, 2016
This is a great play for a lot of reasons. Not only does Hinostroza make a good move to get the puck on net in the first place, but he has the sense and quick feet to get back to the puck before goaltender Jacob Markstrom can settle it. It’s not a flashy goal, but you can’t be picky with your first.
And then came his second assist, which was arguably as impressive as the goal. Hinostroza came in on a rush without an obvious shooting angle, so he patiently waited for a trailing Ryan Hartman to find space in the slot before delivering a perfect pass right onto his stick. Hartman didn’t miss, and suddenly the game was tied, 3-3.
Ryan Hartman with a BOMB from Hinostroza. Your normal 3-goal comeback for the #Blackhawks. pic.twitter.com/rhSAzoPXqd— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) November 20, 2016
From there, the veterans took over as Marian Hossa scored the game-winning goal in overtime, another play on which Hinostroza assisted. This game never gets there without Hinostroza, though. He played a team-low 10:10, yet he made it count with points on all three goals once the team was down 3-1.
Unlike Nick Schmaltz, the fellow Chicago rookie who got his shot in the NHL from Day 1, Hinostroza has had to be patient. That’s extended to this season, where his minutes have come and gone as Joel Quenneville runs the blender trying to find his best lineup.
Nights like Saturday should help Hinostroza secure his place in the lineup. He turned around a quiet start with a third period that ranks as one of the best (if not the best) periods by any Blackhawks rookie this season. Just weeks after being a healthy scratch, Hinostroza is doing his best to make sure it doesn’t happen again soon.