CHICAGO – It’s fitting that such a finish should come on a night where the Blackhawks honored one of the more gritty players in their history.
Andrew Shaw, whose physical style of play helped him to a decade-long NHL career and helped the Blackhawks to a pair of Stanley Cups, had his career saluted by the franchise before the team squared off the Canadiens. It’s a match-up that was fitting since the forward played in Montreal in between his two stints in Chicago.
Naturally, just like Shaw, the Blackhawks and Canadiens had a back-and-fourth, tight contest over the course of 60 minutes that forced an overtime session. Then in extra time, a physical and a bit of an unusual goal transpired that eventually gave the hosts the victory.
After taking a cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane, Philipp Kurashev had a clear path and skated towards the goal. As he got closer, Canadiens left wing Mark Hoffman reach the Blackhawks’ forward and hit him, driving Kurashev into Montreal goaltender Sam Montembeault and knocking the goal off the moorings.
Just before it did so, however, the puck was able to slide across the line for what appeared to be the game-winning goal. Along with looking at if the puck crossed the line in time, the replay officials in the situation room were also looking to see if Kurashev was offside on the play.
In the end, the replay showed that both events went the way of the Blackhawks, and Kurashev had a game-winning goal in the team’s third-consecutive victory. That’s the second-longest of the season for the team, with one more needed to tie their best stretch of four-straight wins from November 7-17th.
For Kurashev, it’s his third goal of the season and the 11th of his young NHL career in arguably the best highlight of his time with the Blackhawks, even if it was a bit unusual.
“After the first review they said it was a good goal, but then they said offsides,” said Kurashev of the moments after the score. “It was yes, and then no again, so I was just hoping they were going to count it. Thank god they did it in the end, so I’m really happy.”
Kane, who fed Kurashev the game-winning pass, helped the Blackhawks reach overtime thanks to breaking out of his slump. His score in the third period evened the score at two as he notched his first goal since December 4th.
That helped to set up an unusual Blackhawks’ finish that wrapped up a game fitting for the player the franchise honored on Thursday.