All eyes on the sports-viewing world were on the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs. It was the first time in 71 years that historic Wrigley Field was hosting a World Series game. Final score: 1-0 Indians. About 800 miles away though, the city’s most recent champion, the Blackhawks erased two deficits to win in overtime against the Devils on Friday.
Both teams entered the affair with under-performing power plays–a combined 1-for-21 in each of their last three games. The Hawks meanwhile arrived in Newark with an uncharacteristically poor penalty kill–12 for 26 in the opening seven games of the season. But in the spirit of Indians-Cubs, someone had to find a way to win.
After failing to convert on two first period opportunities and surrendering a P.A. Parenteau power play goal on their first kill, the Devils seemed to be playing into the early season struggles of Chicago.
The Blackhawks would answer back in the second with a power play goal from Artemi Panarin to even the till and end an 0-for-14 drought on the man-advantage. Still, the Devils controlled much of the play in the first 40 minutes of the game, outshooting Chicago 28-12.
Looking to correct some of their own weaknesses, the Devils, who had scored just 8 even-strength goals in their first 6 games, scored took an early third period lead thanks to Chicago-native, John Moore, who found himself crashing the net for his first goal of the season. Taylor Hall, who was held without a goal on Friday, added an assist to extend a three-game point streak. He has tallied a point in each of his first four games in New Jersey.
A Vernon Fiddler high-stick on reigning-MVP Patrick Kane late in the game led to a four-minute Blackhawks power play and with Corey Crawford pulled for the extra attacker, Marian Hossa found the equalizer with just 29 seconds remaining on the extended man-advantage and force overtime.
Hall, looking to play the role as hero once again, skated the full 1:15 of overtime before Artem Ansimov scored the game-winner.
The win for Chicago is their first on the road this season.
“It wasn’t pretty, we showed character and found a way to win,” said Hossa.
Jonathan Toews assisted on Chicago’s game-tying goal and was happy for the win and the direction the team is going.
“In some ways, we know this start to the year has been a few bumps in the road, but there’s so much improvement and potential in this team, we’re going to get better and better,” the Chicago captain said following Friday’s win.
Devils head coach John Hynes boiled the game down to its simplest form: they played well enough to earn a point, but not smart enough to take both points.
“Tonight we failed in the smart category at key times,” Hynes said.
He was impressed with goaltender Keith Kinkaid, who stopped 26 of 29 shots in his first start of the season.
“(He) played well, gave us a chance to win,” he said. “It was nice for him to come in and have a performance like that for him and our team.”