Eight days earlier, the Blackhawks trudged off the ice and into the Busch Stadium dugouts having lost for the fifth time in six games — their starts lousy, their offense dormant, their hold on first place in the Central Division and the Western Conference tenuous at best.
Four games and eight points later, that holiday hiccup is a distant memory.
The Hawks completed a perfect 4-0-0 homestead on Tuesday night with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings, capped by Duncan Keith’s power-play goal 38 seconds into the extra session.
“It was good,” Joel Quenneville said. “We wanted to take advantage of our home schedule here [and] get back on track.”
The Hawks-Red Wings rivalry, if you can even call it that anymore, hasn’t meant so much since Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-14 season. And with the Red Wings well out of the playoff picture (they entered Tuesday’s game at the United Center in 15th place in the 16-team Eastern Conference), some of the juice was missing from this meeting early on.
But it didn’t take long for the fire to rekindle, as what looked like a laugher turned into a tense and taut game between the two Original Six teams. The Wings rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to send the game to overtime, where Keith’s blast from the blue line ended things.
The Hawks were all over the Red Wings in the first period, pouring on shots on goal and taking a 2-0 lead midway through the first period as Brian Campbell and Richard Panik scored 26 seconds apart. First, Campbell scored on a blast from the point on a power play. Then Panik followed up a Hartman breakaway attempt for his 10th goal of the season.
But the rout wasn’t on. Detroit turned the tables in the second period and controlled play. Andreas Athanasiou’s snipe from the left circle beat Corey Crawford to cut the lead to 2-1 just 1:37 into the period. Tomas Tatar scored from a similar spot at 9:09 to tie it.
Tanner Kero scored his first goal of the season (and second of his career) at 18:18, capping another strong shift from the red-hot third line with Hartman and Panik. But Detroit again responded, as Luke Glendening popped the puck past Crawford after a series of close-range attempts by Drew Miller.
The Hawks finished with 43 shots on goal, tying their season high. And it was their 17th one-goal victory, most in the league (among 28 such games, also most in the league).
“A win’s a win,” Campbell said. “We kind of let up in the second there, so that was kind of disappointing. But we got it done.”