Blackhawks give up lead, lost to Vegas in OT
For the better part of two periods Saturday, everything was coming up aces for the Blackhawks at the United Center.
Alex DeBrincat had 2 goals. Patrick Kane scored his 25th of the season. The power play was 2-for-4. And the Hawks held a 3-1 lead over a Vegas team that was 18-4-3 over its last 25 games.
Unfortunately for the 21,000-plus in attendance, the lacksidasical Hawks went bust when the Golden Knights scored 3 unanswered goals to claim a 4-3 overtime victory.
"We got a little passive and let them come at us," said coach Jeremy Colliton.
It was Ryan Carpenter's goal with 53.3 seconds remaining in the second period that breathed life into Vegas, and coach Gerard Gallant's team tied it on a Paul Stastny tally with just 4:04 left in regulation.
Shea Theodore notched the game-winner 79 seconds into overtime.
"Thought the game was in our control and then all of a sudden they score late in the second and you could feel we definitely tightened up in the third," Kane said.
The Hawks are now 5-8 when games in overtime and 2-5 under coach Jeremy Colliton. Vegas improved to 28-16-4.
"They've been playing excellent lately," Colliton said. "They're comfortable winning those games. And we've closed out games, so I don't think it should be totally foreign.
"But we did take the foot off the gas a little bit and you're at the mercy of a bounce."
Erik Gustafsson picked up 2 more assists, running his streak to eight straight games. He's just two away from tying the team record, set by Pierre Pilote in 1961.
Cuckoo for Koekkoek?
By acquiring 24-year-old Slater Koekkoek from Tampa Bay on Friday, the Blackhawks now have eight defensemen on their roster. It's not an ideal situation, but coach Jeremy Colliton sounded excited to have the Ontario native on board.
"Obviously Tampa's an excellent team and he had trouble breaking through there," Colliton said of a Lightning team that is 18-1-1 over its last 20 games. "He has a lot of attributes that can help him be a contributor at our level. Excellent skater. Big body. Still young. Still time to develop, so he'll have a chance to prove himself. It does add some extra numbers, but that will sort out."
The Lightning drafted Koekkoek 10th overall in 2012, but he's played in just 85 NHL games, nine this year.
"Everybody gets frustrated when they're not playing," Koekkoek said. "Luckily for me, I have a strong support system. I try and take every day with a positive mindset, so in that way I'm lucky. But it was definitely weighing on me hard. …
"I'm just excited for new scenery and especially (coming to) a franchise like this. I couldn't ask for a better place."
Praise for Pirri:
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant couldn't say enough good things about Brandon Pirri before the Golden Knights played the Blackhawks at the United Center on Saturday. Pirri, who had 47 goals in 86 games for the Chicago Wolves over the last season and a half, has scored seven times in 10 games with Vegas.
"His game has rounded out real good," said Gallant, who also coached Pirri in Florida in 2014-16. "He's better defensively, he's working hard, he's in better shape and just looks good on the ice. He's 27 years old and he wants to play in the NHL and he deserves to. He's earned it."