Blackhawks beat Red Wings in overtime to win fourth straight

Blackhawks beat Red Wings in overtime to win fourth straight

The Blackhawks and Red Wings square off only twice a year now after the NHL realignment sent Detroit to the Eastern Conference at the start of the 2013-14 season, so it's only fitting the former division rivals brought their A-games in the first meeting of the year.

And it was a wild one.

The Blackhawks knocked off the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime at the United Center on Tuesday night, but Detroit didn't make it easy on Chicago, as usual.

Brian Campbell got the scoring started when he blasted home his fourth goal of the season on the power play from the point to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. Twenty-six seconds later, Richard Panik cleaned up Ryan Hartman's shot off a breakaway for his 10th goal of the season.

The Blackhawks held a 16-7 shot advantage and they appeared destined to coast to a victory.

But the ice tilted in Detroit's favor at the start of the second period when Andreas Athanasiou snapped a wicked wrist shot past Corey Crawford to cut the Blackhawks' lead to 2-1.

Tomas Tatar, who committed two penalties on the evening, evened up the score at 2-2 seconds after coming out of the box for serving a hooking penalty at 9:09, silencing a sold-out crowd of 22,019.

Tanner Kero reignited the Blackhawks though when he potted his first goal of the season with 1:42 left in the second. It was his second consecutive game with a point, but he's continuing to show he's reliable on both ends of the ice.

"I think he’s been good, watching him playing and work his way where all of a sudden we’re giving him more important ice time," Joel Quenneville said of Kero. "He’s been killing penalties. You want him out there in defensive-zone situations and offensively he’s got some game, as well. We’ll see how it all sorts out, but he’s certainly helping himself."

But again, the Red Wings responded after Luke Glendening got it right back with 19 seconds remaining to even it up at 3-3.

After a scoreless third period, Duncan Keith netted the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime on the power play to extend the team's winning streak to four games.

They also improved to 12-1-4 against the Red Wings over their last 17 meetings, and are now 17-6-5 in one-goal games this season.

"We've played a lot of tight games, and I think that's a good thing," Keith said. "We're finding ways to win some of them. I think we know that there's still room for improvement if we want to be a team that goes all the way. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves. We know there's still half a season here, but we've done good things. We're trying to get better."

The Blackhawks knew they had to steer the ship in the right direction entering this four-game homestand after going 1-4-1 in their previous six games. 

And they did just that, collecting eight out of a possible eight points before hitting the road for three of their next four games. 

"It was good," Quenneville said of the homestand. "We wanted to take advantage of our home schedule here, getting back on track. I thought we had a good December, slowed down right around Christmas coming out of it. But we've been playing better. I thought tonight was a real solid game. A little slow in the second, but I thought we did some good things across the board. Obviously a great play on the winner there in overtime. Big win for us."

First goal with Blackhawks 'a release' for Tomas Jurco

First goal with Blackhawks 'a release' for Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco's reaction to his first goal on Monday night was as much celebration as a little bit of relief. The forward, acquired by the Blackhawks about a month ago, had had a few great scoring chances in recent games but just couldn't capitalize.

Finally, he got that first of the season against Tampa Bay.

"It's kind of a release, you know?" Jurco said on Wednesday. "I've had a lot of good chances and it would just never go in for some reason. Obviously I'm very happy that it went in and hopefully this is the start of, I would say, more luck for me."

Looking for consistency in his own game as well as a consistent spot in the lineup, Jurco was looking for a boost of confidence. Getting that first goal could be part of it, as a bit of a weight disappears with that zero in the goal column. 

"That's a hurdle that can be in the back of your mind a lot and all of a sudden it could be a nice release," coach Joel Quenneville said of that first goal. "He's progressing in our team game, technically. Whether it's his pace of play or going to the right areas quickly, we're looking for progression. We saw it [Monday] night and I think he'll continue to get better off that. But certainly that should help him get confidence as we go along here."

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Jurco's been around the net, something the Blackhawks always encourage, for most of those scoring opportunities. Perhaps some of that puck luck wasn't quite there. But Jurco is gaining confidence in recent games, and getting that goal could boost it that much more.

"I've always said, especially in my case, scoring helps that confidence come easier. It brings that fun to the game," Jonathan Toews said. "Maybe if you're not feeling it or not playing with high energy, at a certain point in a game when you score, for some reason you get that jolt, you get that jump. For [Jurco], he's been playing well when he's been in, and no doubt that scoring a goal like that can help boost confidence and help him find his game, which we know he has and will continue to show."

The scoring hurdle has been cleared and Jurco is gaining confidence. Will he carve out a consistent spot in the lineup? Quenneville has some options through the bottom six. That, coupled with the Blackhawks playing inconsistent hockey lately and missing that four-line rotation, Jurco's been one of several who have been in and out of the lineup. But Quenneville said on Wednesday, "I don't see making constant changes once the [playoffs] begin." If Jurco keeps getting chances and capitalizing on a few, and if he ends up as part of a rotation that's successful again, he could stick.

Jurco waited a little bit for that first goal. He hopes it's just the start.

"You know eventually it's going to go in but it was just frustrating. Another game and another and another with good chances and it just wouldn't go in. So it's a big release," Jurco said. "Hopefully I'll keep going, keep producing."

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