Chicago Blackhawks Complete Biggest Franchise Comeback in 15 Years

The Chicago Blackhawks became the first team eliminated from NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs contention achieving the feat (duh) on March 9 when they lost a game to the Washington Capitals back then.

That doesn’t mean this team is incapable of doing wondrous things, mind you, such as completing the biggest comeback in franchise history since 2009 as they beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on Saturday, March 23, coming from four goals down to win the game in overtime.

The Blackhawks were down two goals barely 10 minutes into Saturday’s matchup while they got outshot 13-2 through the first period of play. The Sharks extended their lead to 4-0 within the first minute and a half of the second period. For context, the Sharks (40 points after Saturday’s loss) entered this game four points behind Chicago (45) in the race for the worst record in the NHL.

SETH THE RECORD STRAIGHT pic.twitter.com/BeZ6BtjbyL

— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 24, 2024

Ryan Donato scored the first goal of the weekend and the game for Chicago five minutes after San Jose did so for the last time.

“In a 4-0 game, you just need to get one and you start to feel better about yourself,” Donato told reporters after the game. “And you get two and then you know you’re back in the game.

“For us, it was a tough start, but I like the way we finished after.”

The Blackhawks further cut the Sharks lead down to two thanks to a goal scored by Tyler Johnson. Seth Jones put up the third goal and Philipp Kurashev brought the 4-4 tie to the scoreboard with just 47 seconds left in regulation.

Already in overtime, the same Kurashev was the player assisting Jones’ game-winning, comeback-completing goal just 17 seconds into the extra period.

Seth Jones Completed the Biggest Blackhawks Comeback in Almost 15 Years

“It was quite a rollercoaster,” Jones told reporters after completing the comeback win on the road. “Tonight we really hunkered down and we did it together. So that was awesome to see.”

Awesome it was, indeed, because it’d been nearly 15 years since the Blackhawks cleared a four-goal difference in a game. The last time it happened, on October 12, 2009, Chicago turned a five-goal deficit into a 6-5 victory scoring six unanswered goals against the Calgary Flames.

While that was the biggest comeback in NHL history (tied with the “Miracle on Manchester” from the 1982 season) and this one fell one goal short of matching it, the truth is that all things considered, the Blackhawks can see this as one of the biggest moral victories amid a lost year in the franchise’s rebuilding process.

The win didn’t help nor hurt the Blackhawks in any impactful way. They are still the second-worst team in the league and their odds of landing the first-overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft didn’t move at all on Saturday.

Chicago Drafted Connor Bedard With the 2023 No. 1 Pick

Under the NHL’s weighed draft lottery system, according to Tankathon, the Blackhawks have 13.5% odds of landing the no. 1 pick while the Sharks are still boasting the largest ones at 25.5% odds of getting the coveted first selection.

This year, according to NHL Draft Prospect Rankings, that right will most probably land whoever ends up with the no. 1 pick Boston University center Macklin Celebrini, who is considered the best talent in the class of 2024.

For now, Chicago will keep riding the Connor Bedard wave after drafting the forward with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. On March 13, Bedard scored a career-high 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) for Chicago in a Blackhawks 7-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

So far this season, Bedard has appeared in 57 games scoring 21 goals and assisting 34 for 55 total points. He’s a net-negative minus-37, but that’s what happens when you play for one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Bedard’s luck, however, might be about to change if the Blackhawks can keep building a contender by landing the no. 1 pick in the upcoming draft lottery, scheduled to take place following the end of the regular season at a still-undetermined date in May.

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