Jonathan Toews got the Blackhawks' three-game road trip off on the right track. The captain scored the winner in overtime to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Senators on Tuesday night in Ottawa.
After falling behind 2-0 in the opening period, Dominik Kubalik brought the Blackhawks back with two goals-each assisted by Toews-to tie it and Toews ended it 42 seconds into overtime.
"We really can't afford to lose many games right now so we weren't too happy with our start," Toews told reporters in Ottawa. "I think all the guys came in here-it wasn't just a few guys, it was everyone that kind of acknowledged that we have a lot better than that-that all five guys can go out there and support each other much better and make the job easier on the guy next to you. I think we played pretty good hockey the last 40 (minutes)."
Robin Lehner made 20 saves to help the Blackhawks win their second game in row and improve to 21-20-6 on the season.
"We need to finish strong before the break and come back and be in the mix," Lehner told reporters. "So every game is important."
The Senators got scores from Connor Brown and Chris Tierney but it wasn't enough as they dropped to 16-23-7.
With two assists-including setting up Toews' overtime winner-Patrick Kane extended his points streak to seven games (four goals, eight assists). The veteran winger now stands at 997 career points as he closes in on becoming the 90th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points.
Toews recorded his third consecutive multi-point game by assisting on Kubalik's scores and notching his 12th goal of the season when he walked into the slot and ripped a wrist shot past Senators goaltender Marcus Hogberg to win it in overtime.
"I was able to get a nice chance off the rush wanting to cut in and thought maybe I could target far side and kind of lost the puck-it was bouncing around a little bit," Toews told reporters. "I came around the far side and eventually I think everyone just kind of backed right in so I just walked it in and took a shot from the low slot. I felt like that was a pretty high percentage chance so I took it. It was nice to see it go in."
Lehner had to make only 20 saves on the night, but none was bigger than when the veteran stacked his pads to make a sensational stop of the Senators' Anthony Duclair early in the second period to keep the Blackhawks' deficit at two goals.
"It was kind of a broken play," Lehner said. "I think they had a guy with the puck in the middle and he was putting it toward the net and I think it went off one of our guys and just went out. It was just instinct pretty much. I felt like I was behind the play but I'm comfortable throwing myself like that. I think I cover a lot of net so why not?"
Lehner spent the first five seasons of his career with the Senators and since leaving is now 8-0-3 with a 1.84 goals-against average and .939 save percentage against his former team.
"Before playing teams and knowing all the guys and stuff is always fun but it's kind of new here with Ottawa," Lehner said. "There are a couple of guys left since I was here but it's pretty much a brand new team. But it's always fun to come back to this city."
Senators fans gave the Blackhawks' Zack Smith a nice ovation after a video tribute to the veteran during the first period. It was Smith's first game at the Canadian Tire Center since the Senators traded him to the Blackhawks for Artem Anisimov on July 16.
Smith played 11 seasons for the Senators during which the forward had 94 goals and 99 assists in 618 regular-season games. Smith said his fondest memory of playing with the Senators was their run to the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals where they fell to the Penguins in seven games.
"The year we went to the conference final … was a lot of fun; that was a great experience," Smith said. "Being one goal away from the Stanley Cup Final that was one memory that was great. We had a really fun team and a lot of good guys. We had some really good battles with Montreal over the years. Just a lot of good memories, especially away from the rink. I met a lot of really good people and a lot of people I still keep in touch with now."
Smith had two takeaways, on hit and won seven of 10 faceoffs in 12:54 of ice time during the Tuesday night's game. For the season, Smith has two goals and seven assists while also being a valuable member of the Blackhawks' penalty kill.
"(Smith) has done a great job killing penalties," Colliton said. "He's versatile (and) can play all three forward positions. I think he's had his stretches when he's been great and stretches when he hasn't been as good. The last couple of games, he's been very good."