The resurgent Chicago Blackhawks put a four-game home winning streak on the line on Sunday afternoon when they host the San Jose Sharks.
Chicago hit the quarter-pole of its season just six points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, not bad considering its disastrous 1-9-2 start that led to the firing of head coach Jeremy Colliton.
The Blackhawks have bounced back to win six of their eight games (6-2-0) under interim head coach Derek King, including a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
Alex DeBrincat scored the winner 1:27 into overtime after Brandon Hagel tied it with 5:04 to go in the third period.
“It’s huge,” King said of his team’s comeback from a 2-0 first-period deficit. “The confidence these guys are building every game — to be down two, we didn’t get rattled by it.”
“Earlier in the season we were down 2-0, it’s probably over,” said DeBrincat. “But I think we had a good reset in the intermission there and came out and played strong.
“To be a good team, you’ve got to win those games,” DeBrincat added. “Even if you’re down, you’ve got to come back and find a way to win. I think that’s what we did tonight and hopefully we can build on that.”
San Jose is starting a five-game road trip that follows a 2-2 homestand.
Friday night, the Sharks were coming off a pair of wins that included an impressive 2-1 overtime nod over Carolina — one of just three losses for the Hurricanes this season, and a 6-3 win over Ottawa.
Yet, they fell flat in a 4-1 loss to Toronto.
“Just a sloppy night,” said forward Logan Couture. “We had turnovers all over the ice. When we got ourselves into trouble, we turned the puck over way too often.
“We said going into tonight we want to play our style and not theirs. Their style is feeding off transition and turnovers, and we fed into their style … a recipe for a 4-1 loss.”
San Jose coach Bob Boughner said, “We just didn’t have our A-game. There’s no reason for it. I know we played a lot of hockey this week on this homestand. We gave guys yesterday off thinking it would recharge their batteries.”
Boughner pulled starting goalie James Reimer for Adin Hill midway through the second period after Reimer gave up all four goals on 17 shots. But Boughner made it clear that he was not pointing fingers at Reimer.
“It definitely was not his fault,” said Boughner. “I told him that much. The plan is to play him Sunday in Chicago so I said ‘just get some rest.'”
–Field Level Media