By Brad Vandenberk
After a weekend of beating two Eastern Conference teams in the Islanders and Sabres, the Blackhawks sent off to Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday to take on the Hurricanes.
The last time these two teams met was October 28th during the 2011-2012 season, when the cardiac Canes shutout the Hawks 3-0. Coming into Tuesday’s contest, the Canes were coming off a weekend of disappointment, only grabbing 1 out of a possible 4 points. The Hawks next seven games see them play four more Eastern teams before the month of November, when it is four weeks of Western conference foes.
Coach Q made a few tweaks to his line up throughout the weekend which seemed to spark some of his players. Joakim Nordstrom scored the first goal of his NHL career on Friday against the Islanders. While Ben Smith scored his first of the season tipping in a Brent Seabrook point shot on Saturday versus the Sabres.
Corey Crawford got the call to start once again for the Hawks while the Hurricanes countered with Cam Ward.
Michael Kostka, Sheldon Brookbank and Brandon Pirri got a bird’s eye view of this game. Of course, Jimmy Hayes was reassigned to Rockford after Friday’s win over the Islanders to make way for Pirri. Michal Handzus was back in the lineup on Tuesday in place of Pirri, who had spelled Handzus in Saturday’s win over Buffalo.
–Lines Tuesday in Raleigh:
Bickell Toews Kane
Sharp Handzus Hossa
Saad Shaw Nordstrom
Bollig Kruger Smith
Corey Crawford opened the contest almost pulling a ‘Luongo’ before the ice was even dusted. Toews heads the other way and breaks through the Canes d-men and Ward gets tested early. Mr. Saad was out to prove something tonight. He was noticeable right off the bat. He breaks in and has a glorious chance but Canadian Olympic hopeful Ward, makes another save. Crawford continued his shaky play bobbling a few glove saves. Saad again, slides a wraparound attempt over to Leddy and Ward is again sharp to the task. The puck does trickle past the goal line but not before the whistle had blown.
Later, Michal Handzus, working down low in his own ends, flips a puck up center ice sending new daddy, Patrick Sharp on a breakaway. Shark wastes no time firing the puck into the top shelf over Ward’s glove, for his first of the year and 200th career 1-0.
Shortly after, Eric Staal gives the Hawks their first power play as he heads off for holding. As the penalty expires, Shaw disrupts a Canes clearing attempt and gets it over to Marian Hossa, who sends a back hand past Ward giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead.
As the opening period winds down, the Hawks continue their early domination but Ward keeps the score as close as possible. Before time can lapse, Kane busts out the spin-o-rama but to no avail. The Hawks have struggled all year killing the last minute of a period and it seems like the Canes got the memo. The period ends with the Hawks up 2-0 and leading in shots 15-5.
Hurricanes start the second period eager to get to Crawford. But the cup champ turns his shakes into steadies and holds onto the shutout. Rozsival takes the first Hawks penalty for tripping and the Canes get their first power play of the game. During the man advantage, the Canes take a too many men penalty and the Hawks come out with a power play with nothing to show for. Oduya blows a tire and slams into the boards but jumped up and remained in the game. While the Hawks get short power play they have a ton of chances to add to their lead. Saad continued his dominant play, undressing the Canes D-men and making a strong move to the net, but again Ward makes the save. Keith hustles back to disrupt a Canes 3-on-1 sliding across the ice blocking the shot. Oduya is the next penalty victim heading to the box for hooking. Hawks penalty kill stands strong and the score remains 2-0. Kane and Bickell go to work and break in on a 2-on-1. Ward is out high on his crease and makes the stop. With 23 seconds left in the frame, Kruger breaks in and battles for a puck which finds its way to the front of the net, Ward covers and the period ends with the Canes outshooting the Hawks 14-8.
The Hawks open up the third frame with Kane and Hossa exchanging chances.
Four minutes in, Eric Staal fires a shot and Alex Semin puts home the rebound igniting the Caneiacs 2-1.
Just over 30 seconds after the goal Ron Hainsey heads to the box for holding and the Hawks get a chance to add a cushion. Sharp and Hossa get great opportunities on the PP, but the Canes kill off the pressure. Rozsival continues his worst game of the campaign putting a puck intentionally offside. Sharp, Toews and Bickell throw all they can at Ward. Harrison trips over his own feet and still manages to stop Toews streaking in.
The Hawks squander their once 2-goal lead when Hainsey beats a screened Crawford and the Canes tie it at 2-2 with 7:27 remaining.
Rozsival, once again, does the walk of shame to the penalty box – this time for tripping. Crawford stands tall for the Hawks once again. Toews notices Eric Staal is caught back playing defense and tries to beat Staal to Ward, but gets tangled up and Ward makes the save. Kane ends the period double shifting to try and win the game in regulation, but the Canes get to the buzzer and overtime is needed.
The extra period has the Canes and Hawks both getting early opportunities. With 2:30 left in overtime, Bickell gets called for the hook and The Hawks have to get this game to a shootout. Seabrook loses his stick during the penalty kill but Kruger is there to save the day. The Hawks manage to get to a shootout but barely with Crawford making 2 huge dying second saves.
In the shootout, Kane is the first to shoot and back hands it right into Ward’s glove
Nathan Gerbe streaks in and Crawford stops his attempt.
Toews beats Ward but can’t raise it over his pad.
Semin speeds in and looses the handle on the puck, not getting a shot off.
Sharp pulls the old backhand, forehand and beats Ward.
Jeff Skinner needs to score to keep the Canes alive, but fires it right at Crawford’s chest and the Hawks escape Carolina with the extra point 3-2.
-Hawks out shoot the Canes 36-34 after going 15-5 in the first.
-Hawks go 0/3 on the power play and The Canes are 0/4.
-Handzus was the best Hawks center at the faceoff dot, winning 12/22 face offs. Toews goes a woeful 6/21, Shaw 3/13 and Kruger 4/10.
-Oduya leads all Hawks with 26:05 of TOI with D partner Hjalmarsson getting 26:00.
-Kane had 5 shots on net leading all Hawks.
-The Hawks return to the UC to face the St Louis Blues on Thursday night.