CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks triumphed in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season partly because they succeeded in overtime.
The Blackhawks won five of the seven playoff games that went into overtime last season. Two of those victories came in the Stanley Cup finals.
They also won five overtime games during the regular season.
They were consistently clutch.
This season had been a different story: The Blackhawks hadn’t scored in 21 overtime games. They lost seven games in overtime and were 6-8 in shootouts.
On Wednesday, the Blackhawks finally added an overtime win to their season’s résumé. Patrick Sharp put the puck in the net 43 seconds into overtime to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center.
“I think we were due,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was the first time all year we scored an overtime goal in 20-something games, 20-some opportunities. We got a pretty good club, offensively, but to finally take this long to get one was a relief and a huge two points for us ... and a nice comeback, as well.”
Although playoff overtime games are different and don’t lead to shootouts after five minutes, Quenneville acknowledged it was still important for his team to pull out Wednesday’s game as it did. Marian Hossa also scored for the Blackhawks -- with 47.7 seconds left in the third period to force overtime.
“It’s not the type of overtime that counts in the playoffs,” Quenneville said. “But certainly, going forward, it gets the monkey off your back in those situations knowing that we should feel good about entering it and finding way to at least get chances and the quality to get the endings. We’re pretty fortunate over the years. This year it’s just a bad stat.”
Sharp had similar thoughts.
“It feels good because there will be plenty of overtime games in the future and no shootouts to fall back on,” Sharp said. “I know we haven’t been great in the shootout either. We like our 5-on-5 team play. I don’t think we read too much in that overtime number.”