CHICAGO – It was already going to be a day full of emotion thanks to what happened on Thursday night at the United Center.
Then came a surprise announcement on Friday morning.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook, who has been out of the Blackhawks’ lineup as he continues to rehab from offseason surgeries, decided to hang up his skates after 15 seasons.
The defenseman had a tribute in the first period of the Blackhawks’ game against the reigning champions at the United Center. It was an emotional moment that came as the team was already losing to the Lightning 24 hours after losing in overtime literally at the buzzer in overtime.
That’s a lot for a team that’s still pretty young and trying to re-establish itself in a pandemic-shortened season. Yet the group managed to show their poise in rallying not once, but twice to finally knock off the champs.
Down by two goals in the first period and one in the third, Jeremy Colliton’s team rallied to force overtime. Then in the shootout, Malcolm Subban pitched a shutout while Philipp Kurashev got the winning goal in a 4-3 victory.
“These are big games for us. We’ve got to get as many points as we can,” said forward Alex DeBrincat. “They’re a good team, but we’ve showed we can hang with them and beat them.”
DeBrincat had a lot to do with the Blackhawks being able to celebrate an emotional day the right way as he helped the team escape a 2-0 hole. The forward got a power play goal in the first period then added his 14th score of the season to even the game up.
Ryan McDonagh would put Tampa Bay ahead in the third but Dominik Kubalik would tie it under three minutes later. Subban stood tall in goal as he made 39 stops on the night and helped the Blackhawks get to overtime.
After his final stop of Stamkos, Subban emphatically celebrated as his teammates mobbed him following one of the best victories of the season.
“I pointed up to the fans watching back home. Obviously, it’s not the same getting these wins without the fans in the building,” said Subban of the celebration. “Can’t wait for them to be in here to support us.”
Safe to say they would have enjoyed this emotional night, too.