Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night at Rogers Place:
1. Jeff Glass earns two points.
No time was wasted in getting the 32-year-old making his NHL debut some action. And boy was he tested from the start.
The Oilers registered 19 shots on goal in the first period, including 11 in the opening 10 minutes in which Glass stopped all of them. Jesse Puljujarvi finally cracked the code when he scored on the power play at the 14:26 mark.
Glass stopped 42 of 45 shots total (.933 save percentage), denying a handful of prime scoring chances, most notably a Leon Draisaitl breakaway a little bit past the midway point of the first period to keep it a scoreless game. The Blackhawks allowed a season-high 19 high danger scoring chances, according to naturalstattrick.com; their previous high was 13 (five times). Glass earned this victory.
It was certainly an encouraging performance, and it likely will earn him a second straight start in his hometown of Calgary against the Flames on Sunday.
2. Richard Panik's bounce-back game.
After being a healthy scratch right out of the Christmas break Thursday in Vancouver, Panik was put back on the top line with an opportunity to redeem himself and rekindle that chemistry with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. His biggest moment in the game came at the 13:38 mark of the second period when he drew a holding penalty that was really close to being a penalty shot.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks, Darnell Nurse was given a two-minute minor instead and it turned out to be a good thing.
Just 20 seconds into it, it appeared the Oilers would exit the zone for a potential odd man rush the other way but Duncan Keith made a Norris Trophy-type play when he pokechecked the puck to keep it in inside the zone, Nick Schmaltz picked it up, then fed it to Alex DeBrincat, who buried the team's first of two power-play goals of the night.
Panik logged 13:47 of ice time — his most since Nov. 27 — had three shot attempts (two on goal) and tied Lance Bouma for the team lead with five hits.
3. Ryan Hartman turns in arguably his best game of the season.
The one thing the Blackhawks have preached all season but haven't done on a consistent basis is providing net front presence to make it difficult on the goaltenders to see the initial shots and to also clean up second opportunities. And that's exactly how the Blackhawks got two of their four goals.
In the final minute of the opening frame, Schmaltz received a pass from Patrick Kane as they weaved into the offensive zone, then passed it right back to Kane who fired off a 27-foot wrist shot that was denied by Cam Talbot. But Hartman was driving hard to the net and stopped in the crease on a dime, then smacked in the rebound to even up the score at 1-1.
It was Hartman's second goal in as many games and third in his past five after going goalless in his previous 17 contests. With Artem Anisimov (upper body) being placed on injured reserve, the Blackhawks are searching for others to step up in the net-front presence department and Hartman needs to be one of those guys. He did that in this one.
Hartman also logged his third-most ice time (17:23) of the season, and played an important role on the Blackhawks' third goal of the game mentioned below.
4. Jordan Oesterle scores well-deserved first NHL goal.
It took 37 games, but Oesterle is on the board and it was a fitting way to score his first career NHL goal.
Nine seconds into the Blackhawks' third power play of the game at 8:28, Oesterle blasted a shot from the point that got past Talbot with the help of Hartman, who provided the screen in front, to put the Blackhawks up 3-1. This coming one night after Oesterle registered a season-high six shots on goal in Vancouver.
He had just two in this one, but it's the one that found the back of the net that counted and it has to be noted that he finished with eight shot attempts (six missed the net). What better way to score your first goal against the team you spent your first three seasons with?
And to cap it off, he finished with a season-high 25:08 of ice time and a career-high seven blocked shots that led the team. It was an all-around great effort and well-deserved night for the 25-year-old defenseman.
5. Nick Schmaltz steps up in Artem Anisimov's absence.
The Blackhawks desperately needed — and need — Schmaltz to carry the load with Anisimov sidelined, and he didn't disappoint. In fact, he had his best game in a long time.
Schmaltz assisted on three of the Blackhawks' four goals, including the overtime winner by Kane, to put him at eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games. It was his fourth three-point game of the season, and it comes at a perfect tiime.
His faceoff percentage — he went 2-for-8 (25 percent) mostly going up against Connor McDavid — remains a work in progress, but if he plays the way he did tonight going forward, the Blackhawks will be in decent shape until Anisimov returns.