Hawks Insider

10 observations: DeBrincat lifts Hawks to OT win over Oilers


The Blackhawks knocked off the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in overtime at the United Center on Thursday.

Here are 10 observations from the win:

1. The Blackhawks had four injured players return at the same time: Calvin de Haan (right groin strain), Tyler Johnson (neck), Riley Stillman (left shoulder) and Jonathan Toews (concussion protocol. Pretty important players, too. The four of them have a combined cap hit of $21.4 million, which is more than 25 percent of Chicago's salary cap.

2. Duncan Keith returned to Chicago for the first time since being traded to Edmonton, and it was a memorable night. He got some loud cheers when he was announced as a starter, drew a standing ovation after his video tribute during the first TV timeout, and topped it off with a curtain call. One of the highlights of the evening: Keith battling for a faceoff with Toews during the ceremonial puck drop.

3. If Keith's return to Chicago and Toews' return to the lineup wasn't enough, Niklas Hjalmarsson was in the house for Legacy Night. Part of the band back together again. While he was probably underappreciated around the NHL, he certainly wasn't in Chicago. The fans, his teammates and the entire organization will always remember him as a warrior and one of the greatest defensive defensemen in franchise history.

4. Alright, now to the actual hockey. It was a see-saw type of game for the Blackhawks, who held three one-goal leads and allowed a heartbreaking goal in the final minute of regulation. But they prevailed, in the end, thanks to an Alex DeBrincat overtime goal on the power play. A fitting end to a memorable night for the Blackhawks.

5. The first line of Patrick Kane, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome was terrific. When the three of them were on the ice at even strength, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (16-12), shots on goal (12-8), scoring chances (8-2) and actual goals (2-0), per Natural Stat Trick. Kubalik ended an 11-game goal drought and Kane scored his sixth goal in his last seven.

6. The Blackhawks were clearly the better team at 5-on-5 and the numbers back that up. They generated 27 scoring chances and allowed only 14. That’ll work.

7. The Oilers are not a team you want to put on the power play, and the Blackhawks did a lot of that in this game. They committed five penalties in the first two periods, which is far too many against a team that has Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. The Oilers made them pay on one of those chances.

8. Sam Lafferty has been a nice player in the lineup but he hasn't had much to show for it on the scoresheet with the Blackhawks. He found the back of the net for only the second time this season and it was good to see him rewarded.

9. Kirby Dach logged ice time 19:08 of ice time in regulation. Only Patrick Kane had more among Blackhawks forwards (barely) at 19:33. Dach went up against McDavid’s line all night, a difficult task for a young player like him but he held his own.

10. Quote of the game from Toews on his return and a special night for his former teammates: "It was great. At least I had a little company. It's definitely fun to get back with the team in the room. This last month was pretty important, very important games obviously, and it sucks to be out when guys are feeling the pressure and riding that emotional roller coaster. You want to be part of that with them, whether it's good or bad. Nice to get back in the mix and get a win tonight with the added excitement at the start of the game with Duncs being back and Hammer's big night. That was pretty cool."

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