The Carolina Hurricanes had another dreadful first period as they fell behind the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0 just 10 minutes into the game, but they came on strong later and tied things up in the third period before falling in the shootout, 3-2 in front of 16,263 in Raleigh.
The Canes were outshot in the opening period 15-5 and could have easily called it a night as things were not going their way, but they played an even game in the second, while catching up on the shot chart, and then out-played the champions in the third.
The overtime period was almost all Carolina as they had a powerplay chance, but they could not solve Corey Crawford a third time for the win.
Patrick Sharp got things started with a perfect shot to make it 1-0, at 7:56 into the game. Just two minutes and change later, and right after the Canes killed off a Hawks powerplay, they failed to clear the puck and Marian Hossa took advantage and backhanded a shot past Cam Ward to make it 2-0.
At this point it was all visitors and coach Kirk Muller called his timeout, to settle his team down.
Ward had to make a couple more saves before the end of the period but the Canes eventually settled down and got more possession time in the second period, while outshooting Chicago, 14-8. They were not rewarded for the effort on the scoreboard though as the score was still 2-0 after two periods, but the team still didn't give up and continued fighting into the third.
Finally, Alexander Semin was in the right place at the right time and lifted a rebound chance over Crawford, 3:54 into the third period. Eric Staal put the shot on net and Semin was there for the put-back.
Chicago put forth more effort at this point, but Cam Ward was equal to the task and made a couple more nice saves at key times.
The Hurricanes finally got a break when Ron Hainsey flipped a shot to the net from the blueline which fooled Crawford to tie the score, 2-2 with 7:27 left in the game. It was the first goal for Hainsey in almost three seasons, since the Thrashers were in Atlanta in the 2010-11 season.
Both teams had a couple of good chances to win the game after that but could not quite light the lamp and the game went to overtime.
The Canes outshot the Hawks 4-3 in the extra period and had a couple of prime chances, one by Justin Faulk, another by Jeff Skinner, but Crawford held his ground. The home team even had a powerplay chance, giving them two full minutes of a 4-on-3 opportunity, but could not get it done.
Nathan Gerbe, Semin, and Skinner could not beat the Chicago goalie and that was that.
The Hurricanes can feel very good about not giving up and earning a tough point to one of the best team's in the league, but the good feelings can be tempered a bit because constantly losing the consolation points can leave you short of the playoffs at the end of the season, which this franchise only knows too well.
They also seem to get off to slow starts in games more often than not.
Still, coach Muller was very pleased with the team's effort and they will be leaving for their road trip on a high note. Next up are the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
- Tuomo Ruutu is starting to look like his old self and had a team high six hits. The Canes had a total of 31 for the game.
- Ryan Murphy had a team high 25:01 of ice time. Faulk was right behind with 24:34. Brett Bellemore did not have his best game and played 11:46, while finishing with a -2.
- The team won 60% of their faceoffs in this one. Jordan Staal won 65% while Eric won 59%.
- The Blackhawks had 26 blocked shots compared to 13 for Carolina. Murphy and Ruutu led the way with three each.
- The Hurricanes went 0-4 on the PP, but did not allow any powerplay goals in this one, (0-3).
- After that slow start, the Canes ended up just being outshot 36-34 for the game. Semin had a team high six shots.