VANCOUVER – Confession: three of the original Five Things were written through the first 40 minutes, because it didn’t look like there was any way the Blackhawks were coming back in this one.
Who needs 40 minutes when you can play excellent hockey the final 20-plus? The Blackhawks showed that on Saturday night, erasing a 3-0 deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in overtime. It was one wild finish. So while you’re still on your post-game high, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ comeback victory.
1. Marian Hossa, we salute you. Another night, another excellent finish for the guy who’s had plenty of them in his career. Hossa scored his second game-winning goal in as many nights, claiming this one with less than a minute remaining in overtime. Coach Joel Quenneville said the young Blackhawks could benefit from studying Hossa’s game. Ryan Hartman said they are. “He’s winning puck battles, outskating and outcompeting guys,” Hartman said. “To us young guys, it’s really cool to watch and definitely something to learn from.”
2. Goaltending is stellar again. Corey Crawford, Scott Darling, whoever the Blackhawks have in net right now, it’s all good. Darling was especially magnificent in overtime on Saturday night, as he thwarted the Canucks’ opportunities. Darling made one stop after he lost his glove. What keeps you focused at that point? “So much adrenaline,” he said. “You’re just trying to make a save in overtime. I’m just happy he didn’t shoot glove.”
[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear here!]
3. Young guys’ night. We’ll get into this more in Sunday’s story but big credit to Vinnie Hinostroza and Hartman. Hinostroza’s first career NHL goal brought the Blackhawks to within one, 3-2, in the third period. Hartman’s second in as many nights tied the game. There are growing pains for every young player but there are also times where you get to make your mark. The Blackhawks’ rookies did that in a critical situation on Saturday night. Oh, and to expand upon one subject here…
4. Congratulations to Hinostroza. The forward was on bed rest for two consecutive days entering this weekend. And while he could’ve played on Friday night – he was cleared that morning – waiting until Saturday proved to be a decent decision. Hinostroza’s happiness was clear after he scored that goal in the third period. The hometown kid does good.
5. Sticking with it. Maybe the Blackhawks still would’ve been alright with an overtime loss, considering how this one ended. But even after Jonathan Toews was denied what the Blackhawks thought was the game winner early in overtime – it was ruled offside – they didn’t stop. So it took a few more minutes. They got there, and there was no doubt Hossa’s counted.