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Kubalik's late-goal lifts Blackhawks past Red Wings in OT


by - Staff Writer -
Blackhawks won again in overtime (Raj Mehta - USA Today Sports)
Blackhawks won again in overtime (Raj Mehta - USA Today Sports)

Extra hockey, no problem, as the Chicago Blackhawks are getting accustomed to overtime hockey. Playing in their fifth overtime game last night in the past seven, Chicago is getting so used to overtime that anything else seems weird at this point. Despite the Red Wings dominating them in the shots department all night, the Blackhawks made the most of their chances.

With just three shots in the extra frame, Chicago only needed one of those three shots on frame. The rookie Dominik Kubalik came through for his second goal of the night, delivering the game-winner with just 15 seconds left in overtime 3-2.

If anything, the Blackhawks should be thanking Detroit, especially after their first two meetings this season. It was those two games that not only gave

the Blackhawks their first wins but saw the offense outscore the Wings 10-3, which was a sign of things to come. Since those two games, the Blackhawks have been one of the hottest hockey teams and continue to impress.

Looking to duplicate their success from the team's first series of the season, Chicago wasted no time grabbing an early lead. Just over four minutes gone by in the opening period, the Blackhawks attacked Nikita Zadorov (5) and Carl Soderberg (2), controlling the puck. Mattias Janmark found some open space and put the puck past Thomas Greiss for his sixth goal of the season, giving the Blackhawks the 1-0 lead.

That goal was the theme on the night as that was Chicago's only shot on goal through the first five minutes. A lot of people think the more shots you generate, the better chances you have to score. Well, that can be the case, but you also must think about quality over quantity. Despite the Red Wings constantly testing Malcom Subban in goal, he stood tall, allowing his offense to go to work.

Thankfully for him, the Blackhawks didn't need a ton of shots to beat Greiss, with Kubalik extending the lead to 2-0 with less than four minutes to go. It was the fourth goal of the season for Kubalik, with Brandon Hagel getting credit for the assist. With time winding down in the first period, Detroit was on the attack once again. This time, they were able to sneak one past Subban as Vladislav Namestnikov netted his fourth goal of the season, cutting things to 2-1 after one period.

You got to give Subban some credit in this one as he stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced in the game. After a slow start that allowed Kevin Lankinen to emerge as the team's top netminder, Subban has quietly put a string of good games together, gaining more confidence each time on the ice.

After a scoreless second period, the two teams were back on the ice for the start of the third and looking to pick up where this great rivalry left off.

Say what you want about the Pandemic and what this 56-game schedule means this season. However, one thing the NHL got right was how they realigned these divisions. After playing each other four times a year, if not more counting the postseason, the Red Wings and Blackhawks have been in separate conferences for years now, seeing each other just twice a season.

This season, the two teams will not only renew their rivalry but will do so by playing five more times this season for a total of eight meetings. With Seattle coming into the fold next year, maybe the two clubs can link up in the same division once again, as this is truly the best Original Six rivalry in hockey. Still down a goal and approaching the six-minute mark in the third, Christian Djoos lit the lamp for his first goal of the season, taking a Frans Nielsen and Adam Erne assist to tie things up 2-2. Chicago and Detroit both had their chances to take the lead and pick up two points in regulation, but nothing would come of it as Chicago settled for another overtime game.

With a crucial point still on the line for both sides, fans expected an intense extra period filled with lots of drama. Instead, they were greeted by a Detroit team not only playing with a new sense of energy but one dominated the first three minutes of the extra frame. Granted, the shots heavily favored the Red Wings; they never really had any quality looks as Subban was holding tough.

With less than two minutes to go, Chicago then began tilting the ice in their favor as the puck was now on Detroit's end of the ice. After coming in for Alex DeBrincat on a substitution, Pius Suter made his presence immediately felt beating Greiss top-shelf. Unfortunately for Suter, the far post got in the way as things remained 2-2.

Unable to clear the puck, Suter continued his attack on the Red Wings defense, working with Nicholas Beaudin on the offensive end. With less than 20 seconds to go, the pair found Kubalik skating in front of the net as he put home his second of the night and sixth of the season to deliver the 3-2 overtime win.

With the win, Chicago improves to 8-5-4 on the season and is in a three-way tie for second with 20 points. They trail division leader Tampa Bay by one. Detroit continues to struggle as they fall to 4-10-3 with the loss and remain in last place in the Central with 11 points, one behind Nashville and three behind Dallas for sixth. Kubalik takes home player of the game for his pair of goals, while Subban stopped 27 shots in the win.

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