DeBrincat’s OT goal gives Blackhawks win in King’s coaching debut

Blackhawks Derek King
Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

It is only one game, but Derek King’s coaching debut behind the bench on Sunday night was easily one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ best performances of the season.

And they were able to get two much-needed points in the standings as a result.

Alex DeBrincat‘s goal at the 37-second mark of overtime was the game-winner to help lift the Blackhawks to just their second win of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.

But the win itself is secondary to how the Blackhawks managed to get it. Specifically, they just simply looked like a better team than they have in almost any other game this season under former coach Jeremy Colliton.

Colliton was replaced by King on Saturday following a 1-9-2 start to the season.

[Related: Chicago Blackhawks fire head coach Jeremy Colliton]

They looked ready to play and did not give up an early goal, as has been the consistent trend all season.

They insulated their goalie (on this night Kevin Lankinen) more than they have all season.

A team that was averaging 33 shots on goal against per game coming into play on Sunday limited Nashville to just 21 shots. They also nearly doubled up the Predators in terms of high-danger chances at 5-on-5 play (12-7 via Natural Stat Trick).

When talking about the coaching change this weekend interim general manager Kyle Davidson said he saw the Blackhawks making a lot of correctable mistakes that were not getting corrected. A lot of those mistakes were absent on Sunday. The question will be whether or not the Blackhawks can repeat that kind of performance in their next game, or if this was just a one-game blip following a coaching change. The slow start definitely gives them a tall mountain to climb when it comes to getting back into playoff contention but the schedule does ease up a bit over the next couple of weeks. Over their next five games they get a shorthanded Pittsburgh Penguins team, Seattle, Arizona, and Vancouver (with a game against Edmonton sandwiched in there). They need to stack some wins to get back in it.

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