Hinostroza scores again, but Hawks lose 4-3 to Florida in OT
After Vinnie Hinostroza scored midway through the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime loss to Florida on Thursday, nobody would have blamed the speedy forward if he winked at Joel Quenneville and mouthed:
"See, coach? I've still got it."
Quenneville, who has helped guide the Panthers to a remarkable 33-14-5 record, played Hinostroza just nine times this season and then lost him via trade to the Hawks.
Not that it was a big loss. After all, Hinostroza had zero points in those nine contests.
Given new life, Hinostroza has enjoyed a resurgence few could have seen coming, scoring 3 goals and dishing out 7 assists in 11 games with the Hawks.
"Anytime you score a goal in the NHL it's huge, no matter what team (it's against)," Hinostroza said. "I don't look at it as my old team. It's just another team in the NHL.
"I've been here for a month; this is my team. This is where I want to be. I want to help this team win, so whenever I can score it's gonna feel good."
Although Alex DeBrincat tied things up with just 18 seconds remaining, the Hawks (22-22-6) were feeling anything but good after this loss. They are 6 points behind fourth-place Nashville with just six games remaining.
"It sucks," said a stoic Kirby Dach, who had an assist and won 10 of 12 faceoffs. "We're fighting for our lives right now. ... It's nice to get 1 point and claw back a little bit, but we've got to find a way to get 2 almost every night to give ourselves a chance."
Florida won on Sam Bennett's goal with 52 seconds left in OT. The Panthers took a 3-2 lead when DeBrincat didn't pick up a charging Brendan Montour midway through the third period.
Adam Gaudette, acquired from Vancouver at the trade deadline, opened the scoring at 13:47 of the first period.
The Hawks did play a solid game overall and especially in the first period when they controlled the play and kept the dangerous Panthers from generating much of anything.
"We competed much harder (and) were better with the details of the game, particularly defensively," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "Nice that we didn't quit and found a way to come back. Thought we had more than enough to score in overtime, so that leaves a sour taste not to get the two points. But much happier with how we came out tonight and competed than the last game."
The teams meet for the final time this season at the UC on Saturday.