CHICAGO – In a literal sense, fans of the Blackhawks are getting more than their money’s worth from this team.
After all, they’ve gotten five extra periods of free hockey from the club so far in the young 2018-2019 season.
In five games, the Blackhawks have made it to five overtimes, coming out in wins in two of them to continue a strong start to the season. Intentionally or intentionally, Joel Quenneville’s team loves drama, and they’ve shown it so far.
In the process, they’ve made some NHL history – becoming the first team ever to play five consecutive overtime games. So far, the formula has worked, with the Blackhawks earning eight out of a possible ten points.
“We’ve had five games, and everyone of them has been extremely intense. Games have been on the line from start to finish,” said Quenneville. “Outside of the Minnesota game, we’re definitely pleased with it for the most part with playing overtime games. But we left an extra point there in Minnesota – it shouldn’t have got there.”
That was Thursday, when the Wild got the tying goal in the final minute despite the fact that they were serving a penalty. With the goalie pulled in a 5-on-5 situation, Ryan Suter found a way to put it past Cam Ward for the tying goal, then Jason Zucker ended it with a breakaway in overtime.
Yet the Blackhawks rebounded in on Saturday for yet another come-from-behind victory in the third period, this time with a different hero.
Alex DeBrincat tied the game in the third period with a goal and then finished up overtime in style with his second of the evening. Erik Gustaffson’s pass was put in position for DeBrincat to have an empty net tap-in for the game-winning goal to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory, adding to the winger’s six goals on the young season.
It marked the fourth time in five games that the Blackhawks rallied from a third period deficit to tie the game, and three of those games have been victories. All of this has been done without Corey Crawford in net, with his return slated to be within the next week.
But for now, Quenneville’s quite happy with his competitive group that’s not afraid to put in a little overtime.
“But, hey, our group’s been competitive this year. The guys have been working hard for one another,” said Quenneville. “I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period and coming back with a win is special.”
Just like the start of this particular season.