Today’s Chicago Blackhawks morning links have a distinctly non-Blackhawks feel to them, and for good reason
OK, we’ll get this out of the way first: The Chicago Blackhawks travel to the Rocky Mountains today for a game against the lowly Colorado Avalanche. And while that’s certainly worth noting and will get more coverage on Blackhawk Up later today, as well as some with these links, let’s talk about a game that happened Monday night.
The Washington Capitals took their nine-game win streak to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins in a showdown between two of the Metropolitan’s four really good teams. And what a show they put on.
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Pittsburgh edged out Washington 8-7 (!) in overtime to somewhat halt Washington’s meteoric rise to the top of these teams’ rugged division. While the Caps still hold a two-game lead over Columbus (the Blue Jackets have two games in hand), the Pens moved within five points of the division and league leaders (with one game in hand).
It looked like the Capitals were going to roll to their 10th straight win, keeping going an NHL season that has seen multiple double-digit win streaks. They went up 2-0 after one period on goals from Andre Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom.
With Braden Holtby in net, that had to be the end of it, right? Well, Justin Williams added a third Washington goal 1:17 into the second period, so it certainly seemed that way.
Until it really, really didn’t Pittsburgh exploded for the next five goals. Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary and Nick Bonino scored in a span of about 2 1/2 minutes in the middle of the second to tie the game. Bryan Rust broke that tie about five minutes later, and Malkin added another shortly thereafter.
Malkin’s second marker chased Holty, as Philipp Grubauer got the call. That apparently sparked Washington, which tallied the next two goals (Brett Connolly and Lars Eller) to knot the game at five. But Malkin completed a second-period hat trick before the clock struck zero, and so a 2-0 game after one frame was a 6-5 affair through two.
And these teams weren’t done. Sidney Crosby finally got in on the goal scoring 5:55 into the third period to put Pittsburgh up 7-5. But Matt Murray, who ate all seven of Washington’s strikes, couldn’t hold the Caps at bay. T.J. Oshie and Eller dented the twine, with Eller’s score coming with about five minutes left in regulation.
Thankfully for hockey fans everywhere, this game went to overtime. Naturally, it ended on a weird goal when a goalmouth scramble in front of Grubauer saw the puck squeak over the goal line off the stick of Sheary to end the contest just 34 seconds into extra time.
You can watch video highlights of this wild game here. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the Pittsburgh announcers do this game much justice. When the game gets tied at 7, they almost seem annoyed. If you’re any sort of hockey fan, you should be having a field day.
Weird notes from this one:
— Alex Ovechkin didn’t score a goal, even though the two teams combined for 15.
— Murray finished with .750 save percentage and still got the win. Holtby ate five goals and got a no-decision because his teammates tied things up — twice.
— Just two of the 15 goals were scored on the powerplay, one for each team. Washington had a shorthanded goal, one goal was scored at 4-on-4, and another (the winner) was scored at 3-on-3.
This is almost definitely the game of the regular season, and maybe even the game of the 2016-17 NHL year. What fun.
Now, let’s get to some Blackhawks morning links ahead of hopefully some fun for Chicago tonight in Denver.