The Chicago Blackhawks faced the Carolina Hurricanes in a rematch following a 3-4 loss last Thursday.
Stuck in a losing rut, the key for the Hawks was to take the game period by period and hopefully succeed early on so that they could continue to play off that momentum. This seemed to work because the Hawks did play a strong first period, showing a lot of all-around dominance on ice.
It wasn’t long before this paid off. Halfway through the period, Patrick Kane set up the play by stretch passing to Henri Jokiharju, who met the puck at the blue line for a clean one-timer. Positioned right in front of the net to screen Carolina goaltender (and former Chicago Blackhawk) Scott Darling, Jonathan Toews was able to get the tip in for the first goal of the night.
This goal really solidifies what many thought were new Blackhawks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton’s questionable line changes for the night. Defending putting Kane and Toews together on the top line, Colliton said, “I think when we put Kane and Toews together we can get something consistent. Every time out they’re going to give us something, a little bit of a stopper line. Get momentum.”
True to expectation, Kane and Toews were key components in making that goal possible. While I don’t think that these lines should be permanent, Colliton wasn’t necessarily wrong in mixing it up in order to get the team going again.
Just according to plan, momentum spilled into the second period. With the new third line deployed, David Kampf stripped the puck from Carolina and managed to get it loose for Dominik Kahun to scoop up. He was able to pass it back to Alex DeBrincat, who was in the perfect position to get it past Darling for the goal. There was a lot of quick thinking and speed from this line, which really allowed for this beautiful play.
However, second periods continued to be this team’s worst enemy. In the final minutes, Brent Seabrook took the first penalty of the night, sending the Hawks to the kill. Almost immediately, none other than former Blackhawk Teuvo Teravainen scored Carolina’s first goal of the night.
Moments later, Jokiharju took a slashing penalty, taking the Hawks into back-to-back penalty kills. Within two minutes of the previous goal, Carolina scored yet again, tying the game at 2-2. This goal was a result of Seabrook’s poor defensive decisions, as he had moved into Keith’s side in an attempt to help out, but had actually left his side completely unguarded. This one easily could have been avoided.
Stuck in a tie, the third period was frustrating for both teams. Eventually, it came to a head when Seabrook took a hit that Jordan Martinook didn’t like, which resulted in a short scuffle. With matching minors, they headed into an intense 4-on-4 that generated many good chances but didn’t find the tie-breaker.
Opening up overtime, Colliton shook up these units as well. Sending out Kane, Kampf, and Seabrook, this combination, unfortunately, didn’t work out. Taking advantage of Seabrook’s mistakes, Sebastian Aho scored the game-winner for the Hurricanes.
While grabbing one point is an improvement from the Hawks’ previous games, this loss was mostly due to easy mistakes that could have been avoided. There was a glimpse of some good offensive power, even in Colliton’s experimental lines.
The Blackhawks will meet the St. Louis Blues at the United Center, 7:00 pm on Wednesday night.
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Image: Karl B DeBlaker/AP