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Blackhawks rally to beat Senators in OT

by Brian Compton
Jonathan Toews scored 2:07 into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Just call them the Comeback Kids.

The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t let a little thing like a two-goal deficit on the road against the Eastern Conference’s top team get them down.

After spotting Ottawa a 3-1 lead early in the second period, the Blackhawks rallied to force overtime, then got a goal from rookie Jonathan Toews 2:07 into the extra session ( 700K ) for a gritty 4-3 victory over the Senators at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night.

“It was one of our gutsiest performances of the season,” Chicago coach Denis Savard said. “We beat a heck of a team.”

Once again, Patrick Sharp was a major contributor. He scored the game-tying goal 38 seconds into the third period ( 700K ) and set up Toews’ game-winner in the extra session.

All this came after Sharp missed a penalty shot in the second period, when he fired wide on Senators goalie Ray Emery at 11:07 of the second period. He made up for it when his shot from the slot beat Emery early in the third.

''It was just a bad shot,'' Sharp said of Chicago’s first penalty shot of the season. ''It just flubbed off the end of my stick. Even the goal that I scored in the third period, I don't know what was going on but thank God it went in and I could stop thinking about the penalty shot.''

The Blackhawks are now 3-6-0 in December, but have won back-to-back games.

“We learned a lesson in early December, where in today’s NHL those losses can really pile up,” said Sharp, who has 17 goals this season. “You have to come to play every night, and I think it showed tonight. It’s a good confidence-booster for our team and hopefully we can build off it.”

Things weren’t looking good early for Chicago, as Ottawa opened the scoring when Dean McAmmond tallied his second shorthanded goal of the season 5:48 into the game ( 700K ). McAmmond stole the puck in his own zone, came down on a two-on-one with Daniel Alfredsson and got around Blackhawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien before beating Nikolai Khabibulin with a backhander.

Martin Lapointe tied it for Chicago less than two minutes later when he beat Emery with a slap shot ( 700K ), but Dany Heatley put Ottawa back in front when he redirected Wade Redden’s shot past Khabibulin at 10:43 ( 700K ). The goal was initially waved off, but replays concluded that Heatley’s stick was below the crossbar when it made contact with Redden’s blast.

Heatley gave the Senators a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the night at 2:46 of the second period ( 700K ), but Brent Seabrook’s power-play goal, slap shot from the left point at 7:21, got Chicago back within one ( 700K ).

“We didn’t sit back; we went after them when we needed to,” Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said.

At 3-1, the Senators had multiple chances to build a bigger lead but Nikolai Khabibulin was there time and again to make a big save — especially on Heatley, who had several opportunities to complete a hat trick.

"I had a few chances and he made a few saves. At 3-1 though, we had no business letting them back in the game," Heatley said.

In overtime, Sharp came down the left wing on a rush with Toews and made a perfect pass through the skates of an Ottawa defenseman. Toews crashed the net and redirected the puck past Emery for the game-winner.

''I was looking to shoot but the defenseman was standing in the shooting lane so I know Toews goes to the net all the time,” Sharp said. “I just zipped it to him as hard as I could.”

While some teams began their Christmas break following Saturday’s action, the Blackhawks aren’t done just yet. Chicago, now 17-15-2, will look to make it three in a row on Sunday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center.

If anything, Saturday’s victory showed the Blackhawks haven’t lost any confidence despite a shaky start to this month. With victories over some of the upper-echelon teams in the NHL, Toews believes a win such as this is one Chicago can build on.

''We've beaten some good teams like Detroit this year and it just shows that we can get up for the big games like this,'' Toews said. ''It's a big two points for us. The main thing is now we have to move forward and get better from here.''

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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