Blackhawks rally together, roar past Senators after injury to defenseman Connor Murphy

Down to 16 healthy skaters after Murphy and forward Tyler Johnson were knocked out of the game, the Hawks stormed back for a 6-3 victory.

SHARE Blackhawks rally together, roar past Senators after injury to defenseman Connor Murphy

Jonathan Toews scored twice to spark the Blackhawks’ comeback over the Senators on Saturday.

AP Photos

At first, it was hard to believe it had happened again.

As defenseman Connor Murphy lay motionless on the ice just 2:40 into the game Saturday — the third time in a Blackhawks game this season a player had been knocked out by a high hit — the rest of the Hawks gathered on the ice, mentally shaken.

‘‘It’s hard not to be rattled,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said later. ‘‘For a second, your focus is taken away from the game. It’s hard to regroup and to care about the game when your thoughts are with your teammate, when you really don’t know if he’s OK.’’

The anxiety and distraction lingered with the Hawks for the rest of the first period. Then it transformed into fuel.

Down to 16 healthy skaters, the Hawks dominated the second and third periods — putting together one of their best 40-minute stretches this season — to rally for a 6-3 victory against the host Senators.

‘‘We came out in the second and said, ‘Let’s win this one for Murph,’ ’’ defenseman Caleb Jones said. ‘‘We stuck together as a team. We knew we’d get our chances. We were able to finish some of them, and it ended up being a good night.’’

Murphy had just started turning around with the puck when the Senators’ Parker Kelly hit him from behind, crushing his head into the glass in the lower corner of the offensive zone. Kelly was ejected, giving the Hawks a five-minute major power play, although the only goal in the five minutes turned out to be a short-handed strike by the Senators.

Later in the period, forward Tyler Johnson — in only his sixth game back from disc-replacement surgery — suffered a possible concussion when teammate Dominik Kubalik’s dump-in inadvertently hit him in the head.

Murphy and Johnson nonetheless were cleared to travel with the team back to Chicago, which interim coach Derek King called ‘‘good news.’’

It’s certainly better news than what was distributed after forward Jujhar Khaira was knocked out by the Rangers’ Jacob Trouba on Dec. 7 or after the Stars’ Tanner Kero was knocked out by forward Brett Connolly on Dec. 18.

The injuries still left the Hawks, who shuffled their lineup as much as possible after their loss Thursday to the Bruins, with 10 healthy forwards for most of the game after originally dressing 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

Toews ignited the group, first by fighting the Senators’ Zach Sanford, then by scoring twice in the first three minutes of the second period to tie the score. Patrick Kane’s assist on the first of Toews’ goals moved him into sole possession of second place on the Hawks’ career-points leaderboard.

‘‘We got to regroup and just respond as a team,’’ Toews said. ‘‘Getting a couple of goals like that helped, and we just stuck with our game from there on out. . . . Everyone was jumping in on the offense, and it was fun to see.’’

Jones’ first career multigoal game — his first goal gave the Hawks their first lead of the night at 3-2 and his second their first two-goal lead of the night at 5-3 — helped keep the momentum going for the offense, which has scored 35 goals in the last eight games.

The defense, meanwhile, repeatedly stifled the Senators’ efforts to move through the neutral zone with possession, conceding only 13 shots on goal after the first period and 23 overall.

‘‘[I told them to] relax and just play,’’ King said. ‘‘We were just off a little bit, whether it was from seeing your teammate get stretchered off or not. I just kind of calmed them down and [told them to] focus on a period at a time and then go out there and play hockey. And they did. They did a great job.’’

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