The Comeback Kids! GOOD News on Jonathan Toews, What a Night, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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The Comeback Kids! GOOD News on Jonathan Toews, What a Night, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Where to begin? Last night was looking like the final night that the Blackhawks would be in a contending position for the final Stanley Cup playoff spot in the Central Division … and then things turned on a dime in the third period. Concluding with a Brandon Hagel overtime winner, the night not only kept the Blackhawks alive in the playoff chase, but also provided positive news for Captain Jonathan Toews’ health and outlook for the 2021-22 season.

•   First off, relive the game-winning moment.

•   The Blackhawks were all but dead in the water last night shortly after the third period began against the Nashville Predators. Down 3-1 to begin the final frame, the Predators scored quickly to make it 4-1 and I was done for the night and season. We’ve seen this movie before with the Blackhawks, that once they fall behind in big moments, there is no digging themselves out of them.

•   I was wrong.

•   Wyatt Kalynuk score this third goal of the season mid-way through the third period to give the Blackhawks that first glimmer of hope last night. It still seemed like a huge mountain to climb against a team that had not allowed more than two goals in a game against Chicago this season.

•   That mountain got much smaller thanks to Vinnie Hinostroza version 2.0.

•   Were we really doing this? Now? Tonight of all nights?

•   The answer was yes.

•   The Blackhawks had not scored three goals in a game against the Nashville Predators all season. Then they go out and score three in under three minutes in the third period last night to send the game to overtime and that would be where Brandon Hagel buried the game-winner.

•   Hagel’s overtime winner was his second of the season, making him the first rookie with multiple overtime game-winning goals since Brent Seabrook in 2005-06.

•   Hagel had a three-point night with two assists to go along with his game-winning goal. It was his second multi-point game of the season and he now ranks second in points for rookies on the Blackhawks with 19.

•   Hagel and Hinostroza have come together in recent games, with both players having similar styles of play that feed off of each other well. I was worried when Hinostroza came to the Blackhawks that Hagel would see his ice-time diminish, but that hasn’t been the case.

•   The addition of Hinostroza to the Blackhawks has been an incredible win for Stan Bowman in the short-term. Hinostroza was doing nothing with the Florida Panthers and the Blackhawks gave up a player that was bouncing between the AHL and ECHL for him. So far, as far as return on investment goes, Hinostroza is the big acquisition for Chicago.

•   I don’t know what the Blackhawks’ plan is for Hinostroza beyond this season. There is a chance he could be part of the long-term plans. But on an expiring contract, it could be a one and done situation with Chicago, which I’m sure is not what Hinostroza wants.

•   With the win last night, their first win of the season over the Predators, the Blackhawks kept their postseason hopes alive. Even with the Predators getting the pity point, the Blackhawks trimmed their gap between them and Nashville to three points. Chicago also closed the gap between them and the Dallas Stars to just one point with the win. Chicago and Nashville finish their regular season series on Friday at the United Center.

•   Nine game remain for the Blackhawks, all of them still against teams ahead of them in the division, but only three remain against the teams directly ahead of them in the Central Division playoff race. Chicago completes their season series with Nashville on Friday and finishes their season series and the regular season schedule with two home games against the Dallas Stars on May 9th and 10th.

•   While the game ended up bringing the fireworks late last night, the biggest news that the Blackhawks could have had cam during the first intermission on NBCSN. TSN’s Darren Dreger did a segment with host Liam McHugh and reported that Chicago Captain Jonathan Toews’ health was improving and that, as long as that remains the case, he will be ready to return to the Blackhawks for the 2021-22 season.

•   Even if the Blackhawks did lose last night, this news would have made it a good night.

•   After having been held in limbo on the status of Toews’ health and having to trust the messages coming from Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks organization, the news is something of substance, positive news, that Blackhawks fans can hold onto for Toews’ future. We still don’t know exactly what he has been dealing with, and we may never know, and that’s completely his right and his right alone to know what he has been dealing with. Bottom line is that if Toews is fully healthy and ready to go for the 2021-22 season, I’m here for it.

•   Other news around the NHL last night, is appears the league is targeting an October 12th start date for the 2021-22 season.

•   With the 2021 season extending due to COVID postponements and the Stanley Cup Final possibly running into mid-July, the October 12th start date is about a week and a half behind what would be a normal regular season start date for the NHL. The dates still have to be finalized by the NHLPA.

•   Take a breather after all that last night. We’ll need our strength for Friday night’s contest.

•   That’s all for today, have yourselves a good Thursday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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