More drama: Alex DeBrincat rescues Blackhawks in OT win over Blues
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At least the Blackhawks have been entertaining. They haven’t been playing complete games, but they’ve been fun to watch.
For much of the game Saturday, it appeared they would turn in perhaps their best all-around performance of the season. But, true to form, the Hawks couldn’t hold a lead and made things hard on themselves before beating the Blues 4-3 on Alex DeBrincat’s overtime goal.
Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead in the first period, and DeBrincat beat goalie Jake Allen with 6:54 left in the third to tie the game at 3 after the Blues had scored three unanswered goals.
The Hawks are the first team to play five overtime games to start a season.
“We seem to give away leads, then are able to come back,” DeBrincat said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to keep the lead from the start. We’re coming out and playing well, getting two-goal leads, and they seem to disappear.
“We’ve got to do something about that.”
This game was a microcosm of the first four of the season with chances flowing freely for the Hawks and Blues.
The Hawks’ lowest-scoring games — using that term loosely — were two 4-3 finishes before this latest one.
Fun to watch? Sure. Something that will need addressing sooner or later? Yeah, probably. But coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t panicking too much about the blue line before the game.
“I still think our team defense can improve on a regular basis all year long,” Quenneville said. “I don’t think that’s ever going to be nailed. There are a lot of good players in our league, and a lot of guys can make plays, and we expect that.”
The Hawks have faced some of the league’s top players, namely the high-flying Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews last Sunday.
They allowed seven goals to Toronto. Not every team has the Maple Leafs’ offensive talent, but all NHL teams have players capable of exploiting a struggling blue line. And the Hawks have learned that the hard way.
“Adapting to how we want to play technically, it’s not a problem,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘I still think we can all be better. And the little tweaks we made, I think that will become second nature and will be improved upon. We don’t want to spend as much time as we did last year in our own end, and I think that’s the focus of what we’re trying to get better at and we can play more offense, which is what we want.”
The Hawks had to play more offense after giving away their 2-0 lead. DeBrincat has been a key part of the attack, and the second-year man has six goals in five games for a team that’s 3-0-2 despite plenty of high drama.
DeBrincat was encouraged that the Hawks are finding ways to accumulate points.
“We’re resilient out there, and we want to come back and win every game,” he said. “I think it gives us some confidence to come back, but we definitely would rather just keep the lead we have.”
That would be more sustainable than the current style.
“We’re going to try to not go to overtime too much and try to win in regulation,” DeBrincat said.
“That’s the goal, but we’re going to take every point we can get and try to keep putting some wins [together].”