CHICAGO – If anyone was doubting if the Chicago Blackhawks had any fight in them, that was answered loudly Friday afternoon against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 4-3 overtime victory.
Jason Dickinson recorded a hat trick after a stirring Blackhawks effort in the final four minutes of the second period, and the third period saw a back and forth rollicking mid way through that involved five different players in two different spots on the ice, and resulted in four penalties.
Moments later, it looked like Nick Foligno was taking on the entire Maple Leafs team in front of the net poking for a rebound. Not only were the Blackhawks alive and kicking, so too was the United Center crowd.
It was quite the contrast from the showing against Columbus nearly 48 hours earlier.
Everything culminated with an absolutely crazy finish with 30 seconds left as Connor Bedard’s shot ricocheted off the glass, rolled on top of the net, bounced off the ice, and then Kevin Korchinski backhanded it in to finish the Maple Leafs off.
No one, and I mean no one, had that one as the winner. But as the Blackhawks poured off the bench to celebrate and the crowd roared its approval, no one gave a damn how the game ended.
The Blackhawks ended a five-game losing streak, and put a lot of noise to rest that had surrounded them for three days.
Blackhawks Fight Back
Alluded to in the preview, the Blackhawks are missing a chunk of the players they were expecting to help Connor Bedard move the team along. To face a Stanley Cup contender like the Maple Leafs is hard enough. When icing a team that has its legitimate scoring line facing the best of that team? It’s tough sledding.
But the one thing that can be said is that they continue, in spite of that talent deficit to play hard and in the cliche of hockey phrases–keep grinding.
It’s always said, too, that there’s a lot of pride in the room–but that doesn’t always matter. Losing, especially in long stretches, wears both mentally and physically. So no, they won’t count the moral victories but it sure feels like some of this should be worse than it is.
Look at Dickinson. Second on the team in goals and seven points (5-2) in his last six games.
But the United Center crowd, lulled into what looked like another beating getting ready to commence, applauded and loudly appreciated the effort in the back half of the second period. Chasing a goal, the Blackhawks looked the part, and came close to tying it up several times.
In the third, they finally did, catching the Leafs 15 seconds in on Dickinson’s third of the night. Then, they fought. literally as well, to break the five-game skid against one of the NHL’s very best teams.
They did. In exciting fashion.
Now, go catch your breath.