Blackhawks Resilient, Pick Up First Win in Washington Since 2006

Hawks resilient, pick up first win in Washington since 2006 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

WASHINGTON D.C.  — On Tuesday, the Washington Capitals squandered a 4-1 lead by giving up four unanswered goals in the third period to the Florida Panthers and losing 5-4 in regulation. They were outshot 26-2 in the final 20 minutes, which made for one of the most lopsided stat sheets in a period you'll ever see.

Because of that, the Blackhawks knew the Capitals were going to come out hungry on Thursday in the first of a three-game road trip.

"I was hoping they were going to win by a lot and be relaxed when we come play them," interim head coach Derek King said on Wednesday.

The Capitals were not relaxed, but the Blackhawks were up to the task anyway. They held a pair of leads in the first two periods before falling behind 3-2 in the third then evening things up at 3-3 late to force overtime.

With the help of Marc-Andre Fleury and his two posts, the Blackhawks pulled out a 4-3 win in a shootout and improved to 7-3-0 under King.

"A lot of ups and downs," said Alex DeBrincat, who scored a goal and added an assist. "We battled hard to the end. Obviously being down a goal with six minutes left, we were battling till the end and Jonesy came up big for us and so did Flower in overtime and the shootout."

It wasn't a pretty win by any stretch, but a gutsy effort, no doubt. The Capitals are one of the league's best teams both on offense and defense, and the Blackhawks hadn't won in Washington since Jan. 10, 2006 — a span of eight games. They finally ended that streak.

"That's a good hockey team," King said. "Big, fast, skilled. It was a challenge for us and they tilted the ice here and there but we stuck to our game plan. We just kind of played as simple as we could. We still made some mistakes where I would've liked to see pucks go in a little deeper but stayed in the fight. It was a challenge for us and they rose to the occasion."

Among the positives: The Blackhawks snapped a 1-for-30 drought on the power play with a goal on the man advantage by Dominik Kubalik, who found the back of the net for the first time in 16 games. Josiah Slavin, who made his NHL debut, also recorded a primary assist on Seth Jones' game-tying goal in the third period.

The Blackhawks did give up 30 scoring chances at 5-on-5, which was tied for their fourth-most in a game this season, but that's why they went out and acquired a goaltender like Fleury. To be that reliable last line of defense when things aren't going your way.

“Throughout the game we had some ups and downs like any other game, but we stuck it," Jones said. "We were resilient in the way we wanted to play and it took us to the very end to get a win."

Next up on the schedule: A New York Rangers team that has the NHL's third-best points percentage and an Islanders club that's still searching for their first win in their new arena. The Blackhawks have an opportunity to return to Chicago feeling good about themselves if they can carry over this momentum into the weekend.

"We’re going to enjoy the win," King said. "We’ve got two games to play that are good teams. We should take that momentum and just feel good vibes going into these games in New York. And hopefully then have a good one against the Islanders."

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