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RECAP: Blackhawks Top Islanders, 5-2

Two-point nights from Strome, Toews and 38-save performance from Lehner propels Chicago to victory

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks went down early, but rattled off five unanswered goals to top the New York Islanders, 5-2, in the first game back after the holiday break. 

Robin Lehner stopped 38 of the 40 shots he faced against his former team for his 10th win of the season. 

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Dylan Strome notched a pair of primary assists for his sixth mutli-point outing of the season

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Lehner improved to 10-1-3 lifetime against his former teams, beating the Islanders in his first meeting against them since signing in Chicago on July 1. 

UP NEXT: The Blackhawks embark on a three-game road trip beginning on Sunday in Columbus at 4 p.m.


GAME RECAP

The visitors struck first as Ross Johnston converted a give-and-go feed with Josh Bailey at the back post off an odd-man rush at 5:50 of the first period. 

Chicago would begin a first-period scoring run to take back the lead less than two minutes later with Dennis Gilbert's first NHL goal at 7:34 of the frame. Skating through the slot from the near point, Strome found the defenseman with a pass that Gilbert quickly put on goal with a backhander that beat Thomas Greiss five-hole to tie the game 1-1.

Video: NYI@CHI: Gilbert buries backhand for first NHL goal

Dominik Kubalik put the Blackhawks in front with his 11th goal of the season at 9:46, converting a give-and-go off a turnover in the slot with Patrick Kane by putting a spinning puck on net for a 2-1 advantage. 

Video: NYI@CHI: Kubalik buries the return feed from Kane

Alex DeBrincat notched his ninth of the season at 11:56 to give home team a 3-1 advantage. Strome kept the puck inside the offensive zone skating back towards his own end and then found DeBrincat in motion across the top of the slot. DeBrincat stepped in and fired a wrister upstairs that beat Greiss for a 3-1 lead and led to an Islanders change in goal just over halfway through the opeing period. All three Blackhawks goals came within a span of 4:22. 

Video: NYI@CHI: DeBrincat beats Greiss from the high slot

Jonathan Toews would give Chicago a three-goal lead in opening minute of the third, walking in from the neutral zone along the boards and beatting Semyon Varlamov with a wrister from the circle that went top-corner at the 50-second mark.

Video: NYI@CHI: Toews beats Varlamov from the right circle

It became a 5-1 game a few minutes later as Matthew Highmore notched his first of the season with a centering feed from the corner that deflected off an Islanders defenseman in front and in for a 5-1 lead at 3:03 of the third. With an assist on the goal, David Kampf has points in three straight, now the longest point streak of his career. 

Video: NYI@CHI: Highmore scores in 3rd period

Casey Cizikas added a shorthanded tally late to cut Chicago's lead to 5-2, which would stand as the final. 

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