RALEIGH — There are two ways to look at the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday to the Chicago Blackhawks.
One view: The Canes trailed 2-0 after a dominant first period by the defending Stanley Cup champions, but regrouped and rallied for two goals in the third to gamely pull out a point.
Another view: The Canes tied the score in the third, but couldnt take advantage of a power play late in regulation and a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, then couldnt score in losing another shootout.
Patrick Sharp, who had Chicagos first goal of the game, managed the only shootout score as the Hawks won for the first time in PNC Arena.
Canes coach Kirk Muller preferred the good point viewpoint to the missed opportunity angle. So did the Canes players.
I feel like it was a good point, center Jordan Staal said. We werent happy with our start, but were still happy with the way we rebounded in the second and third (periods).
We started taking over the game, started taking control against a good team. We did a lot of good things and it was great to see us get the two big goals we needed.
Forward Alexander Semin and defenseman Ron Hainsey scored for the Canes in the third. Semin followed up a rebound of an Eric Staal shot, lifting the puck past goalie Corey Crawford almost four minutes into the period. Hainsey then tied it with a long bomb from the left point with 7 minutes, 27 seconds left in regulation.
The goal was Hainseys first with the Canes. It also was his first since March 12, 2011.
But power-play problems cropped up again for Carolina.
The Canes (2-2-3) had a man advantage with 4:27 left in the third after Jeff Skinner was slashed by Michal Rozsival, but couldnt score. Then, in overtime, Bryan Bickell was called for hooking Canes defenseman Ryan Murphy with 2:30 left in the extra period.
But again, the Blackhawks penalty killers got the job done. The Canes could not find a way to beat Crawford, who also warded off the puck in front of the crease in the final seconds as Jordan Staal crashed the net.
In the shootout, Canes goalie Cam Ward stopped Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews while Crawford stopped a shot by Nathan Gerbe. Semin lost control of the puck on the Canes second shot.
Sharp, who beat Ward with a glove-side shot in the first, did it again in the shootout. When Crawford stopped Skinner, the Hawks (4-1-1) had their third straight win and the Canes had lost their second shootout in the past three games Carolina was a 2-1 loser to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.
Im really happy with the effort of our guys, Muller said. You play the Stanley Cup champs and they came at us in the first period. Youre down two-zip.
But I really liked the way our leaders took charge and kept everyone composed. We went out and had a good second and third periods and climbed back into it.
The Hawks had a 15-5 shooting edge in the opening period and appeared to be the quicker, hungrier team. Sharp scored on a breakaway off a Handzus pass, and Marian Hossa scored from the low slot after Canes defenseman Brett Bellemore first blocked a shot, then fanned on the puck trying to clear.
But the Canes defensemen starting jumping into the plays more after the first. Carolina did a better job finding shooting angles against a team that finished with 26 blocked shots, and had a big game in the face-off circle.
Ward did his part. He stopped Hossa on a point-blank shot early in the third, keeping it a 2-0 game, and later denied Hossa on a Blackhawks power play when it was 2-1.
Muller used his timeout in the first after Chicagos second goal and kept his message simple.
We just said, Hey, the energy is there tonight. I know you guys came here to play and youre excited by the challenge and a couple of miscues and theyre up two-zip, Muller said. But we said, Dont lose that, theres a lot of hockey left. No one panicked.
Muller moved Tuomo Ruutu to the top line with Eric Staal and Semin in practice Monday and said that line had its best game. There were many positives, the coach said.
It was a heck of a hockey game, Muller said. We had chances. Both goalies were really good. It was just a really entertaining, hard-fought game.
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