Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes fought back with a gutsy, two-goal third period to earn a point in the standings against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Though the Canes didn’t take away two points, the character and resolve that were on display after a somewhat tepid first 20 minutes is something to build upon. “I liked the way our leaders really took charge tonight,” said head coach Kirk Muller. “They kept everyone composed, and we went out and had a good second and third period.”
-- Chicago jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after a couple of defensive miscues – getting beat in a breakaway footrace and being unable to clear the puck as a penalty kill expired – ended up in the back of the Canes’ own net. Muller called a timeout then to regroup his team. ““We just said, ‘Hey, listen, the energy is there tonight, and I know you came ready to play. I know you’re excited for the challenge. It didn’t happen the way we [wanted]. A couple miscues, and they’re up 2-0. But don’t lose that. There’s a lot of hockey left. Let’s grind it out,’” he said. “I think the leaders took charge, went out and played hard.”
-- The Canes began to dictate play in the second period; over 14 minutes into the middle frame, they were outshooting Chicago 11-2 in the period. With nothing to show for their effort on the scoreboard, give credit to the team for sticking to their game plan, as they were rewarded for it in the third period. “To show some character after that second period, come back and score two goals to tie it is a big confidence booster for our hockey club,” Cam Ward said.
-- Just about four minutes into the third period, Alexander Semin got the Canes on the board with his second goal of the season. Eric Staal fired a slap shot on net, and Corey Crawford coughed up the rebound. Semin was able to easily out-muscle Michal Hanzus to the loose puck, which he then deposited top-shelf. “That was the top line’s best [game] all year,” Muller said.
-- About nine minutes later, the Canes tied the game, riding the buzz and energy of the 16,263 at PNC Arena. As Crawford was without a stick, Ron Hainsey’s point shot found its way through traffic and into the net. It was Hainsey’s first goal and point with the Hurricanes and his first goal since March 12, 2011. “We needed two [goals] in that third. However we got them, we were going to be pleased,” he said. “It’s nice to contribute in a big spot.”
-- Hainsey’s goal was officially unassisted, but there were a few key plays made leading up to the game-tying goal. The sequence began with Jeff Skinner entering the zone with speed and generating a scoring chance. Radek Dvorak then parked himself in front of the net, nearly scoring on a point-blank opportunity. He remained in front of the net, screening a stickless Crawford on Hainsey’s point shot. “We tried to make a note of having more bodies in front of Crawford to not let him see the puck, and judging by his reaction on that second goal, he didn’t see it, so obviously we were doing our job,” Ward said.
-- Ward had a solid game in net for the Canes, as he stopped 34 of 36 shots and made two big saves on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in the shootout. Though he has yet to record a win, he was posted save percentages of .973 and .944 in his last two starts, respectively, which were both shootout losses. “Cam played great in net,” Muller said. “Overall, a lot of real positive things for us to take on the road.”
-- The Canes have recorded points in two of their last three games, all match-ups against the Western Conference. The team will now hit the road for a four-game road swing that is split up by four days that will be spent back in Raleigh. “That’s a really good game and a big point against a team like that [before] we go on the road, just because of how we played,” Muller said. “We bounced back from a game we weren’t happy with the other night.”
RALEIGH N.C. -- Patrick Sharp scored the only goal of the shootout as the Chicago Blackhawks survived a blown two-goal lead in the third period to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
Crawford made 32 saves through 65 minutes. Ward stopped 34 shots.
Chicago led 2-0 after two periods, but Alexander Semin cut the lead in half at 3:54 of the third period when he gathered the rebound of Eric Staal's shot and beat Crawford over the glove. Ron Hainsey's low blast from the left point found its way inside the far post at 12:33 to tie the game at 2-2.
The Blackhawks dominated the Hurricanes in the first period, controlling play from start to finish and jumping to a 2-0 lead.
Sharp scored his 200th career goal at 7:56 when he slipped through the defense and beat Ward on the forehand. Michael Handzus started the play with an aerial pass from deep in the Chicago zone. Sharp chased it down at the Carolina blue line before scoring his second of the season.
Marian Hossa made it 2-0 when Carolina defenseman Brett Bellemore whiffed on a clearing pass in the slot. Hossa lifted a backhander past Ward, who was moving right to left on the play. The goal came three seconds after the expiration of Eric Staal's holding penalty.
The Blackhawks outshot the Hurricanes 15-5 in the first period.
With a two-goal lead to start the second period, the Blackhawks played a bit more conservatively. But Chicago was up to the task when the Hurricanes had their one full power play in the period. With Johnny Oduya in the box for hooking, Chicago's penalty-killers blocked three shots and cleared the defensive zone four times, holding Carolina without a shot.
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