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THREE THINGS: Special Moments, The Cat is Back and Silver Lining

Three takeaways from Chicago's 4-3 overtime win over Boston on Thursday night

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks entered the toughest building to win a hockey game this season and walked out with a much-needed victory.

Jonathan Toews scored on a breakaway in overtime to lift the Blackhawks to an improbable 4-3 win over the Bruins on Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

Ryan Carpenter, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat also scored for the Blackhawks to make a winner of goaltender Robin Lehner (37 saves).

"We can build off games like this," Toews told reporters after he slipped the puck through the pads of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask on the backhand to record his franchise-record 14th career regular-season overtime goal. "We had the start we needed (Thursday night) and carried it through 60 (minutes) for the most part. It's got to be a confidence-builder when you beat a team like Boston in their own building but what matters is what we do next."

The Blackhawks had the Bruins on the ropes by holding a 3-0 lead in the third period but Boston stormed back to avoid suffering its first loss in regulation at home this season.

"We knew this was a good challenge for us and a great opportunity," Lehner told reporters. "Obviously, we would have liked to win in regulation but we made some mistakes and they capitalized. I thought the first two periods were really, really good. They're a good team. Eventually, we were rewarded. It's a great win."

The win snapped a three-game losing skid for the Hawks as they kicked off their two-game Mothers Trip that will continue against the Devils on Friday night in New Jersey. The Blackhawks will enter that game with a 11-12-5 record after Thursday's inspiring victory.
 

Here are three takeways from the Blackhawks' victory: 
 

SPECIAL MOMENTS

Special teams led the way for the Blackhawks. Not only did they blank one of the NHL's most potent power plays, the Blackhawks scored with a man advantage (Strome) and also while shorthanded (Carpenter).

It was the play while shorthanded that played the biggest role. The Bruins have the second-ranked power play in the league with a 29.4 percent success rate but failed to score in four opportunities Thursday night.

Video: CHI@BOS: Carpenter banks in rebound for SHG

After finishing last in the NHL last season and a 72.7 kill rate, the Blackhawks rank 17th this season at 80.7 percent.

"I think we have some experience, a little bit more attention to detail (and) a little bit more focus given the fact we had a rough season last year when it just felt like it didn't matter what effort or what we tried to do to turn things around," Toews said. "This year it's given us some confidence keeping us in games when we end up going to the box as much as we do, kind of like (Thursday night). It's nice to have the special teams do the job for us."
THE CAT IS (FINALLY) BACK

DeBrincat flashed a big smile after scoring :17 into the third period to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead. After many close calls during the last couple of weeks, the winger rifled a wrist shot to the short side that beat Rask and ricocheted off the cross bar and into the net to snap DeBrincat's 12-game goal-less streak.

"It was a long time in between goals but hopefully I can get hot here and keep going," DeBrincat told reporters.

Said Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton of DeBrincat: "He's playing well. He's been getting chances, they just haven't gone in for him. Hopefully, this is the little boost he needs."

Video: CHI@BOS: DeBrincat fires puck off both posts and in


SILVER LINING

With Olli Maatta sidelined with flu-like symptoms, Dennis Gilbert drew into the Blackhawks lineup along the blue line. Gilbert was recalled from AHL Rockford on Wednesday to mark his second stint with the Blackhawks this season. The defenseman previously played in three games during which he had 19 hits before being sent to the IceHogs. Gilbert credited a suspension he drew upon his return to Rockford for helping hone his skills and lead to the recall. Gilbert was handed a two-game suspension for an interference incident in a game against Grand Rapids on Nov.16 and used the time wisely.

"I had some extra time to really work on some things with the coaches after practice and really fine tune some things in my game," Gilbert said. "(It was) a bit of a blessing in disguise getting a little extra time to focus on development during the season. I feel like I'm just getting more and more comfortable with the puck and trying to be a physical presence and defend and use my skating that way."

Against the Bruins, Gilbert was a physical presence and helped shut down one of the NHL's top offenses for much of the game. He had four hits, two blocks and a takeaway in 14:31 of ice time.

"I thought Gilbert was really good," Colliton said. "(He) stepped right in and played some minutes for us. That's what you need in those situations."

Gilbert's skating appeared more fluid than earlier this season, which was something he worked on while suspended.

"(I did) a lot of foot speed and agility stuff with puck control to be able to make plays with the puck on the run at a fast pace," Gilbert said. "That's something that can potentially translate at this level."

Carter Baum contributed to this report.

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