YEE-HAW! Blackhawks 2, Stars 1 (OT) - February 9, 2021

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YEE-HAW! Blackhawks 2, Stars 1 (OT) – February 9, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are a competitive, fun, young, hungry, and very surprising team here in 2021. I mean. What else can you say?

They are way ahead of where anyone, including myself, thought they would be this season.

Tonight, they disposed of the Dallas Stars for the second consecutive game with a 2-1 overtime win on the road. On Sunday, Alex DeBrincat had the overtime winner. Tonight, it was Pius Suter who pots the overtime winner with a NASTY finish. The Blackhawks are now 6-4-4 on the season and have at least one point in 10 of their last 11 games (6-1-4).

Connor Murphy was ruled out of the game ahead of the warmup with a hip injury. The Blackhawks are considering him day-to-day with his injury. Chicago went with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen in the lineup, with Lucas Carlsson and Madison Bowey coming into the lineup and Matthew Highmore being scratched. It was Bowey’s first game since signing with the Blackhawks.

It was great to see the response for the Blackhawks after the Stars opened the game with revenge for Sunday on their mind. Dallas scored on their shot of the game and got out to an early 1-0 lead, but the Blackhawks battled back, including (if not especially) starter Kevin Lankinen. After giving up the first goal on the first shot he faced, Lankinen stopped the next 34 shots he faced through the rest of the game.

Though it helped that the Stars had a chance to go up 2-0 early in the second period, but the goal was called back because of Jamie Benn’s interference on Lankinen.

Chicago tied the game with a powerplay goal in the second period, marking the 12th game this season with at least one powerplay goal scored (they’re now 7-for-20 (35.0%) on the powerplay over their last six games). Mattias Janmark scored the game-tying goal against his former team, right past John Klingberg who had playfully chirped Janmark’s shooting ability prior to the game. That must feel good for him.

Not only is the powerplay continuing to be a major factor for the Blackhawks, but also their penalty-kill. The Blackhawks shut down the league’s top powerplay unit in Dallas, going 5-for-5 on the penalty-kill over the two-game series. Chicago has successfully killed 21 of their last 22 penalties.

Chicago turned up the pressure in the third period and nearly found the game-winner on Pius Suter’s stick in the period. But it would end up going to overtime tied 1-1, just like on Sunday. And just like on Sunday, the Blackhawks found the overtime winner. Suter got redemption for some missed opportunities earlier in the game and ended the game with a nasty deke by Kilngberg and finish on Jake Oettinger.

Four rookies were on the ice for the overtime winner for Chicago. Suter with the goal, Brandon Hagel with the primary assist, Kevin Lankinen got the secondary assist (his first career point (lol)), and Ian Mitchell, who played a career-high 18:21 minutes in the win. The rookies are playing quite possibly the most important role on this Blackhawks team through the first quarter of the season. Chicago is on a 64-point pace for the season, which continues to flirt with playoff contention.

Again, who saw this coming?

Final Thoughts

•   The Blackhawks powerplay units as a whole have been on fire this season. But surprisingly, the second unit is finding more success than the top unit. Maybe it’s time to even out the ice time between the two units.

•   Madison Bowey played a team-low 10:28 minutes tonight in his first game as a member of the Blackhawks. He was in with Connor Murphy being out with a hip injury. His stay in Chicago may not be long, but he has served a purpose beyond this season for the Blackhawks.

•   The Blackhawks have led or been tied at some point in the third period in 11 of last 12 games. They have at least one point against every divisional team except the Tampa Bay Lightning. This team is competitive and fun.


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Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.