CHICAGO (AP) — Alex DeBrincat scored 37 seconds into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night in Derek King’s NHL coaching debut.
DeBrincat finished a 2-on-1 break and give-and-go with Patrick Kane to lift the Blackhawks to just their second win. DeBrincat got a return pass from Kane and popped his seventh goal past Juuse Saros from the left side of the net.
After scoring, DeBrincat scooped the puck from the back of the net, presumably for King. The 54-year-old King was promoted from the Blackhawks top minor league club, Rockford of the AHL, to Chicago’s interim coach after Jeremy Colliton was fired on Saturday following a 1-9-2 start.
Chicago’s Brandon Hagel and Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier scored 1:50 apart in the second period for the only goals in regulation. Hagel left midway through the third period holding his left arm.
Kevin Lankinen stopped 20 shots for Chicago.
Saros finished with 30 saves as Nashville earned a point against Chicago for the 11th straight game (8-0-3). The Predators were 7-0-1 vs. the Blackhawks last season.
The Blackhawks were competitive in this one after a 5-1 loss at Winnipeg on Friday that seem to seal Colliton’s fate.
King had been the head coach at Rockford since 2018 following a productive 14-year NHL playing career that included 261 goals and 612 points with four teams.
The coaching change is the latest chapter in a rough stretch for the Blackhawks. The team published a report on Oct. 26 that showed senior leaders with the organization largely ignored allegations that assistant coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted former first-round pick Kyle Beach during Chicago’s run to the Stanley Cup title in 2010.
Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks' general manager and president of hockey operations, resigned in the wake of the independent review, and Al MacIsaac, another top hockey executive, also departed. The NHL fined the Blackhawks $2 million.
The coaching switch was the first major move for interim GM Kyle Davidson, who was elevated when Bowman stepped aside.
Hagel opened the scoring at 7:15 of the second after scrapping his way to the right side of the net. He knocked he puck past Saros’ glove after Seth Jones shot from the blue line sailed wide and rebounded off the back boards.
Carrier tied it 1-all with his first goal of the season at 9:05 after slipping free from coverage by defenseman Calvin de Haan. Carrier skated from the right side of the net and across the crease, then stuffed a shot under Lankinen.
Both teams had prime chances in the scoreless third.
Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev knocked a loose rebound away from the post after Colton Sissson’s shot glanced off Lankinen’s glove 5:15 into the period.
Saros made a point-blank glove save Kirby Dach about 2 minutes later. Lankinen made a close in stop on Matt Duchene at 8:33.
Davidson said the search for a permanent head coach wouldn’t start until after the season, and didn’t rule out King for the position.
STILL AN ASSISTANT
Marc Crawford was among the assistant coaches retained after Colliton’s departure. Crawford, 60, has been an NHL head coach over parts of 16 seasons with five teams.
Davidson said Crawford wasn’t in the running for the head coaching spot with Chicago because Davidson wanted a fresher perspective and Crawford had been “entrenched” in Colliton’s staff.
NOTES: Nashville D Ben Harpur was a healthy scratch and D Philippe Myers took his place in the lineup. … Chicago F’s Adam Gaudette and Henrik Borgstrom were healthy scratches. …. Blackhawks F Tyler Johnson and D Isaak Phillips remained in COVID-19 protocol … Nashville LW Filip Forsberg and D Mark Borowiecki both missed their third game with upper-body injuries. Forsberg is listed as week-to-week and Borowiecki day-to-day.
Predators: At Dallas on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks: Host Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.