It isn't every day you see a hockey team erase a five-goal deficit. Heck, you can go almost a whole century without seeing something like that. Just ask the Blackhawks.
When Brent Seabrook (pictured) scored 26 seconds into overtime Monday night, it gave the Hawks an improbable 6-5 victory over the Calgary Flames and completed the biggest comeback in franchise history. That's no small statement, given that the Hawks have been playing hockey since 1926.
By the 11:43 mark of the first period, the Flames had staked themselves to a seemingly insurmountable 5-0 lead. The Hawks looked like they had forgotten there was a game. Their defensive zone coverage was awful. They were handling the puck like it was a hand grenade, giveaways and sloppy passes galore. And their goaltending was downright putrid. Cristobal Huet gave up three goals in 53 seconds and got pulled. Antti Niemi gave up two quick ones when he came into the game in relief. All told, it took the Flames just 5:29 of clock time to score five goals.
After that, the Hawks suddenly remembered they are one of the best teams in the NHL. Chicago totally dominated the final 45 minutes of this game. John Madden (BOOM!) scored late in the first to make it 5-1. Patrick Kane took over in the second period. He scored the Hawks second goal, set up Dustin Byfuglien on a 2-on-1 for the third goal and assisted Dave Bolland on the Hawks fourth goal. After two periods, the Hawks were down 5-4 but you had the feeling they were going to win this one. Win it they did.
Patrick Sharp redirected Duncan Keith's point shot for his team-high fourth goal of the season at the 4:32 mark of the third period. Game tied. It remained as such until Seabrook finished things off quickly in overtime.
What an exciting game to watch. Of course, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville isn't going to be entirely thrilled with the win. Those first 12 minutes were brutal, just terrible hockey by the Blackhawks. No doubt, there are some harsh words being offered in today's practice/video session. It's totally unacceptable for a team of this caliber to fall behind 5-0 on home ice, and Huet remains on my crap list. He still hasn't convinced me he's the right man to backstop the Hawks to the Stanley Cup.
But, last night's game did show just how dominant the Blackhawks can be, even against a likely playoff team such as the Calgary Flames. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this comeback equals the biggest in NHL history. The 20,074 in attendance saw both the best and the worst the Hawks have to offer. Nobody will forget this game anytime soon.