OTTAWA – With the All-Star break just five games away and the team still in need of work to get close to a playoff spot, points like the ones available Tuesday can’t get away.
The Blackhawks knew that as they started a three-game road trip at Ottawa, who has the second-lowest point total in the lead coming into the game. Yet for most of the game, it looked as if the Senators were about to pick up a rare win, leading 2-0 in the second period.
But thanks to a surging rookie and the captain, the Blackhawks managed to escape with a much needed two points.
Dominik Kubalik scored a goal in the second and third period, and in overtime, Jonathan Toews added a goal 42 seconds into the extra session to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 win over Ottawa.
The victory is the second-straight for the team as they go over the .500 mark, improving to 21-20-6 with 48 points on the season. It pulls them within six points of the last playoff spot, and while the few are standings watching quite yet, there’s no doubt losing these two points would have hurt.
It looked as if that might be the case in the first period when Connor Brown and Chris Tierney scored goals in the first 7:22 of the game against Robin Lehner to put the hosts up 2-0. But the goalie wouldn’t allow another one past him in a 20-save performance.
Then it was Kubalik who got the Blackhawks back into it, just as he’s done for the month of January. He got a stick on a shot towards the goal from Patrick Kane for his first score of the night in the second period, then in the third got a pass from Toews and went straight towards the goal for his 18th goal of the year.
That goal gives Kubalik the lead for NHL rookies this season and marks the sixth-straight game he’s scored at least a point.
Toews would get the winner quickly in overtime all by himself skating down the ice, then all the way around the net before curling back in front to score. It completed a solid comeback for the Blackhawks who got two needed points to start their road trip.