After falling behind 3-0, the Blackhawks made a late push in the third period but came up short for their first regulation loss in two weeks.
Despite a strong effort from Patrick Kane on his 31st birthday, the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t complete a three-goal comeback after falling flat through the first 40 minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes. Kane picked up the primary assist on both Blackhawks’ goals, which came just 70 seconds apart from each other.
Kane made a beautiful feed to find Erik Gustafsson crashing the net for his third goal in four games to make it 3-1. With the assist, Kane extended his point streak to 10 games.
The Buffalo, New York native then helped draw the Blackhawks one goal closer as he found Connor Murphy in the slot for his first tally of the season. During Kane’s 10-game point streak, the veteran forward has recorded eight goals and 11 assists.
Blackhawks rookie forward Kirby Dach also picked up an assist on Murphy’s goal to extend his point streak to five games. The 2019 No. 3 pick has four goals and three assists over the last five games and 10 points (5G, 5A) in 15 games on the season. Dach continues to get better with every game and looks comfortable as the Blackhawks begin to expand his role.
The Blackhawks dominated the final period of play as they rifled 20 shots on goal, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit they dug themselves in the first 40 minutes.
Martin Necas opened the scoring for the Hurricanes at 14:24 in the first period on a 2-on-0 rush with Nino Niederreiter. Erik Gustafsson and Duncan Keith each played a part in allowing the odd-man rush as both players got caught at the Hurricanes’ blue line.
Andrei Svechnikov doubled the Hurricanes lead just 53 seconds into the second period when his shot from the left circle deflected off Seabrook’s stick and past Lehner. There wasn’t much that Seabrook or Lehner could have done differently to prevent the goal.
The Hurricanes made it 3-0 later on in the second period as Niederreiter got behind Gustafsson and beat Lehner with a quick move to the backhand. Gustafsson struggled on the top defensive pairing against Carolina, and it might be time to reunite the Keith-Murphy tandem.
Three goals proved to be enough to win the game for the Hurricanes, as the Blackhawks simply didn’t play well enough in the first two periods. With the loss, the Blackhawks are now 9-8-4 through 21 games on the season. Robin Lehner spoke honestly with reporters while describing the game during his post-game interview.
“Obviously, everyone in the building [knew] the first two periods weren’t good enough. They dominated us during the first two periods. Then we had a push and played the way we can. Then we dominated them. But again, 60-minute game. Go to bed, let this one go. Come Thursday (to) win a game. Pretty simple.”
The Blackhawks are back in action at the United Center on Thursday night as the 9-7-2 Tampa Bay Lightning come to town. The Lightning haven’t gotten off to the start that everyone assumed they would, but with that offense, the Blackhawks will have to be on their toes for 60 minutes to come away with two points. Tampa Bay is 5-5-1 on the road this season, while the Blackhawks are 6-4-2 at home. The game is slated for 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to be on NBCSCH and SUN.
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