The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime at Little Caesars Arena on Monday, moving their record to 8-5-4 through the opening 17 games of the 2021 regular season. Forward Dominik Kubalik led the way offensively with his first two even-strength goals of the season (including the game-winner), and goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped 27 of 29 shots faced to earn his second victory with the Blackhawks.

“Sometimes games are like that,” Kubalik said. “It wasn’t our best, but we still found a way to win it. That’s huge. We had some good stuff there, some good stretches, some bad stretches too. But we stuck with it and found a way.”

Secondary Scoring

With both Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat held off the scoresheet on Monday, the Blackhawks turned to their second and third lines to get the job done on offense.

After being heavily out-played through the first few minutes of the contest, the Blackhawks still managed to strike first as Carl Soderberg made a tremendous behind-the-back pass to find Mattias Janmark cross-crease for his sixth goal of the year. Janmark had just six goals in each of his two previous seasons with the Dallas Stars.

Then, with under four minutes to play in the first period, forward Brandon Hagel won a foot race in the offensive zone and centered a pass to Kubalik, who tipped the puck past Red Wings’ goaltender Thomas Greiss to put the Blackhawks ahead 2-0.

While Kane and DeBrincat have done a lot of the heavy lifting for the Blackhawks in overtime so far in 2021, Nicolas Beaudin, Pius Suter, and Kubalik teamed up for the game-winning goal on Monday.

Following a scoring chance for Detroit, Suter swiftly corraled Beaudin’s break-out pass, skated into the offensive zone for a two-on-one, and found an open Kubalik at the right dot. Kubalik received the pass and beat Greiss five-hole for his second goal of the game to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory.

“We Stole One”

Yes, the Blackhawks picked up a win for the fifth time in their last six games, but it was not quite the effort head coach Jeremy Colliton was looking for. After grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Blackhawks played carelessly and spent entirely too much time in their own zone during the second and third periods. As a result, the Red Wings were able to tie the game 2-2 and came close to finishing the job on a couple of occasions.

“A lot of different areas we can be better,” Colliton said with great displeasure. “We didn’t manage the puck very well, we didn’t make enough plays in the breakout, we didn’t hold the puck in the offensive zone, we didn’t sustain enough zone time, didn’t protect it down there.”

On Detroit’s first goal, the Blackhawks were caught out of position in front of Subban. Beaudin left his side of the net vacant, and Vladislav Namestnikov jumped on a loose puck to cut the lead to 2-1 with 14 seconds to go in the first period.

Less than six minutes into the third period, the Red Wings tied the game with a goal from defenseman Christian Djoos. After a Blackhawks’ turnover in the defensive zone, Djoos received a pass at the blue line, walked around DeBrincat, and beat Subban with a wrist shot top shelf for his first goal with Detroit.

Following Djoos’ goal, the Blackhawks mustered up a whopping three shots on goal in the final 20 minutes before overtime. Fortunately, Kubalik was able to seal the deal, but the Blackhawks clearly did not bring their A-game on Monday night.

“Well, we stole one,” Colliton said. “Not one we’re gonna frame, but we did get two points and they can’t take them from us. Now the challenge is to make sure we’re much better on Wednesday.”

PLAYOFFS?!

With the win, the Blackhawks are now in fourth place in the Discover Central Division with 20 points. AKA, a playoff spot. Sure, the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers have a few games in hand due to COVID-19, but that should not take away from the Blackhawks’ impressive start to the season. Especially after being 0-3-1 through the first four games.

Is this early success sustainable for a young and inexperienced Blackhawks team? Maybe, maybe not. But the critical detail to keep in mind is that in every game, the Blackhawks show up and fight hard. No matter the opponent, Colliton has his team ready for battle, and that is all we can ask for throughout the remainder of the season.

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Born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Diehard Blackhawks and Cubs fan. Former high school baseball player. Studied Mass Media Communication and Psychology at the University of Missouri.