Blackhawks 3, Canes 2 (SO)

Posted by Chip Alexander on October 15, 2013 

RALEIGH The Chicago Blackhawks had a dominant first period Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, and for a long time it appeared it might be enough for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

But the Canes tied the score in the third period on goals by winger Alexander Semin and then defenseman Ron Hainsey. It went to overtime, then to a shootout before Chicago won 3-2 at PNC Arena.

Patrick Sharp, who scored in the first period, had the only shootout score. Nathan Gerbe, Semin and Jeff Skinner failed to score for the Canes (2-2-3) in the shootout against goalie Corey Crawford.

Neither coach had many complaints after the game.

“I’m really happy with the effort of our guys,” Canes coach Kirk Muller said. “You play the Stanley Cup champs and they came at us in the first period. I liked the way our leaders took charge tonight and kept everyone composed. We went out and had a good second and third periods, climbed back into it and tied the game.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said,“I will take a win on the road any day of the week. We had a great first period and then they had their turn. Then to give up two in the third and hanging on at the end. A big kill in overtime as well.”

Sharp and Marian Hossa each scored in the first period as the Blackhawks controlled the pace of play, were quicker to the puck and won most of the battles. The Hurricanes were better in the second, then broke through in the third.

Semin followed up an Eric Staal shot, outfought Chicago’s Michal Handzus for the rebound and lifted the puck past Crawford.

The Canes then used a strong shift that began with Skinner carrying the puck to the net and getting off a shot. Crawford made the save, but Skinner got off another shot and the Canes kept the puck in the offensive zone.

Hainsey, who had not scored since March 12, 2011, unloaded a long shot from the blue line that tied it 2-2 with 7:27 left in the third.

The Canes had a power play late in regulation and then a 4-on-3 power play late in the overtime but could not convert. Crawford also stopped Jordan Staal in front in the final seconds of OT.

Sharp took a stretch pass from Handzus, split the defense and scored on a breakaway, beating goalie Cam Ward with a high glove-side shot. It was the first goal of the season for Sharp, who was the MVP in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at PNC Arena.

Hossa’s goal came just after a Chicago power play expired. The Blackhawks maintained the offensive pressure, and when Canes defenseman Brett Bellemore first blocked a shot, then fanned on the puck trying to clear, Hossa scored on a quick handhander in traffic with 9:42 left in the first.

Canes coach Kirk Muller used his timeout at that point, looking to regroup.

The Canes had just five shots in the opening period but nearly scored 18 seconds into the game. Jiri Tlusty, playing on Jordan Staal’s line, whipped the puck toward the net from a tight angle and goalie Crawford barely managed to squeeze his pads tight enough to prevent a score.

Crawford nearly misplayed another puck later in the first when Eric Staal’s centering pass forced Crawford to make a tougher-than-expected save.

Much of the first period was played in the Canes’ end as the Blackhawks were able to maintain puck possession and had a 15-5 shooting edge.

The Canes were more aggressive offensively in the second as Andrej Sekera and Semin got early shots on net, then Eric Staal soon got off a shot with Tuomo Ruutu crashing the net. Carolina had a couple of power plays in the period -- negating the first with a penalty for too many men on the ice -- and alertly picked off some Chicago passes in the neutral zone to push the puck back in the Blackhawks zone.

The Blackhawks nearly scored in the final seconds of the second period but Ward made the stops in tight quarters. Ward then denied a point-blank shot by Hossa early in the third, and stopped a Hossa shot later on a Chicago power play.

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