Marian Hossa’s OT goal extends Blackhawks’ NHL record to 19
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 25, 2013 10:06PM
Hawks winger Marian Hossa (center-top) celebrates with his teammates after scoring in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks came from behind to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Monday February 25, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: February 26, 2013 12:25PM
The word “fun” has been thrown around a lot in the Blackhawks’ dressing room during their incredible start to this season, but that room was anything but a fun place during the second intermission of Monday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Trailing after two periods for just the third time all season, the Hawks were kicking themselves for allowing it to get to that point. The fact that it was coming against the Oilers, a promising but perennial cellar-dwelling team that trounced the Hawks 9-2 and 8-4 last season — only made them angrier.
“At that point, I don’t think we were thinking about it, but before the game, definitely — we remember the history with these guys,” Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. “They’ve got some fast players over there that thrive on mistakes we make, so that was part of the reason we were upset with ourselves. We were making mistakes and playing right into their hands.”
But this game wasn’t anything like those “embarrassing” — Joel Quenneville’s word — blowouts. And this isn’t the same Hawks team as the past two years.
And so the streak lives on, as the Hawks rallied for a 3-2 victory on Marian Hossa’s overtime goal, pushing their record to 16-0-3 and extending the NHL’s longest-ever season-opening point streak to 19 games.
Not surprisingly, it was once again fun to be a Blackhawk.
“It’s just fun,” said Hossa, who swatted a rebound past Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin after a tremendous effort by Sharp to get the puck to the net. “Obviously, tonight we played against a great young team that had our number last year. We talked about it. They’re proving they’re a quick team, but we hung in there even when we were down, and found a way to win, which is just great.”
Once again, the Hawks seemed to get their opponent’s best effort, as everyone wants to be the team to end the streak. Less than 24 hours after lowly Columbus fought the Hawks to the wire in a 1-0 shutout, the Oilers — without suspended second-leading scorer Taylor Hall — gave them all they could handle, even while being outshot 34-19.
A shorthanded goal by Jeff Petry, which gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead, precipitated when defenseman Duncan Keith blew a tire (he missed more than eight minutes before returning). But Patrick Kane quickly got the equalizer on the same power play 62 seconds later. Kane took a drop pass from Marcus Kruger, made a nice move across the goalmouth and slid a backhander under Khabibulin’s right pad for the 1-1 tie.
Rookie sensation Nail Yakupov, the top pick in last year’s draft, gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead on a power play goal at 14:17 of the second period, one-timing a nice pass from Sam Gagner (who had a whopping four goals and four assists in that 8-4 Oilers win last season).
That put the Hawks in an unfamiliar — and unpleasant — position heading into the third period.
“The biggest thing is we don’t want to lose right now, we want to keep this thing going,” Kane said. “After the second period, guys weren’t very happy we were down a goal. And we knew we wanted to come back and change that right away.”
They did just that, as Viktor Stalberg chipped in a Michal Rozsival centering pass just 2:24 into the period to tie the score at 2-2. Both teams had great chances down the road, but Edmonton’s Ben Eager whiffed at the goalmouth, Stalberg lost the puck on a rush and Daniel Carcillo fired a clear slap shot right into Khabibulin’s chest. That set the stage for Hossa’s heroics, though he deferred all credit to Sharp for creating the chance.
The Hawks are now 2-0-1 when trailing after two periods, 10-0-3 in one-goal games, and wrapped up a 6-0-1 homestand with six straight victories. And Ray Emery improved to a perfect 8-0-0.
“Without sounding arrogant, it’s kind of just business as usual,” Sharp said. “We have an attitude that we can win every night. We’re healthy right now, we’re a confident group, and we want to keep getting better.”