BOSTON – An “upset” is a strong word when it comes to the regular season in the National Hockey League, considering that there are 82-games in a given season featuring the best players in the world.
But for most of Thursday night, the Blackhawks looked on the verge of a major surprise in the league at TD Garden.
With Robin Lehner playing strong in net and their offense finding the net, the Blackhawks built a 3-0 lead against the Bruins Thursday night. They’re one of the best teams in the NHL, and had yet to lose a game in regulation at home this season. They’d won 12 of their games played in Boston, losing four times in the extra session, but never leaving the Garden without at least a point.
Unfortunately, that didn’t change, but in the end, the Blackhawks ended up with what they hoped for in their trip to Boston: Two points and the end of a losing streak.
Jonathan Toews’ scored less than a minute into overtime to give his team a surprise 4-3 victory over the Bruins, snapping a three-game losing streak in which the team allowed 16 goals in the defeats. As they snapped out of their funk, the team also ended Boston’s eight-game winning streak.
It looked as if it would be a major win for Jeremy Colliton’s team in regulation as they jumped out to the lead on Ryan Carpenter’s first goal as a member of the Blackhawks with 1:46 left in the first period. But their offense wasn’t done as Dylan Strome, who recently returned to the lineup after being in concussion protocol, scored 37 seconds later to give the visitors a two-goal advantage.
As Lehner continued to hold down the Bruins’ offense, Alex DeBrincat increased the lead in the third with his sixth goal of the year and his first since November 7th to make it 3-0.
Then the tide turned quickly, as former Blackhawks defenseman Joakim Nordstrom got the hosts on the board 1:32 seconds later to cut the deficit to two. Boston then turned the tide with a shorthanded goal from Chris Wagner with just under five minutes to go, and they evened the game up on a Torey Krug score 2:26 later.
Yet the captain saved what would have been a grim result after such a great start in overtime as he got in front of the net in the first minute and snuck the puck under the pads Tuukka Rask for the game-winner. According to NHL Public Relations, it’s his Blackhawks-record 14th regular season goal in extra time, which puts him 10th on the NHL’s All-Time list.
Certainly, the accomplishment came in handy for the Blackhawks, who pulled off as surprising of a result as you can have during the regular season in the NHL.