Blackhawks, Kevin Lankinen get revenge with overtime victory against Blue Jackets
Lankinen saved 29 of 31 shots after his rough night Thursday as the Hawks tied the score late, then won 3-2 on Alex DeBrincat’s goal in overtime.
After the first bad game of his NHL career, Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen got a chance to redeem himself quickly.
The result was a far better performance. Lankinen backstopped the Hawks’ 3-2 overtime victory Saturday against the Blue Jackets, helping them earn another series split.
Carl Soderberg tied the score with 3:45 left in regulation, and Patrick Kane again set up Alex DeBrincat for the winner early in overtime.
‘‘I was pretty confident the way the team bounced back, just seeing their body language and how badly they wanted to win,’’ Lankinen said. ‘‘That gets to you, as well, so you want to make your best effort to give the team a chance.’’
Coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game he wanted to give Lankinen ‘‘a chance to respond . . . right away’’ to Thursday, when he conceded six goals as the Blue Jackets rallied late for a 6-5 victory.
Some big early saves Saturday helped Lankinen settle in quickly, and he was at his best in the third period, saving all 12 shots he faced to keep the Hawks alive until Soderberg’s equalizer. He finished with 29 saves on 31 shots.
‘‘That was perfect revenge from the other night,’’ Lankinen said. ‘‘I was disappointed I wasn’t able to make those saves at the end to give the team the chance to win. But at the same time, there’s so many games. You can’t really dwell on one game. You’ve just got to move forward and think ahead.’’
Added DeBrincat: ‘‘I’ve said this every interview, but he’s given us a chance to win.’’
The Hawks will enter a season-long six-game road trip with a 4-1-0 record in their last five games.
‘‘I like how we stayed in it,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘We were one shot away, and we continued to be one shot away until we got our chance.’’
Soderberg getting acclimated
Soderberg’s transition to the Hawks was difficult.
He was held up for weeks in Sweden, unable to get a U.S. work visa because of holiday delays. He missed all of training camp and the first road trip. Then he had to fight for a role on a team that had seen its center depth improve significantly because of the emergence of Philipp Kurashev and Pius Suter.
‘‘[I’d] been skating for a long time, but you need battles, you need everything,’’ Soderberg said. ‘‘To jump right into it, it took six or seven games to start winning battles. I started feeling better the last week or so.’’
Soderberg’s long-awaited first goal with the Hawks came at the perfect time Saturday, tying the score late.
His scoring-chance ratio also has improved, going from 35.6% in his first five games to 47.8% in his last six, and he won 21 of 27 draws in the series against the Blue Jackets.
‘‘He’s been getting better and better,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘What’s clear, even when he didn’t have his legs, is he’s so smart. When he gets in a 50-50 [battle], he wins it.’’
‘‘[This] was my best game so far,’’ Soderberg said.
Carpenter off COVID-19 list
Ryan Carpenter came off the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, exactly 14 days after he was put on it. That finally left the Hawks without anyone on the list.
Colliton confirmed Carpenter had tested positive. Like Adam Boqvist and Lucas Wallmark last week, he will require some time to return to game readiness.