Even though the Carolina Hurricanes were playing their second game in as many nights and the Chicago Blackhawks were in Raleigh awaiting the Canes’ return from Columbus, you’d have been hard pressed to decide which team was which early in Saturday night’s game at PNC Arena. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, by the end of the night the distinction was obvious.
Despite a two-goal game by Brock McGinn, the Hurricanes ran out of gas late in the game, losing a two-goal lead before falling 4-3 to the Blackhawks on Brandon Saad’s goal 1:44 into overtime.
The Canes averted an early hole after Noah Hanifin conceded a penalty shot under two minutes into the game when he slashed Saad on a shorthanded breakaway. Saad’s former teammate, Scott Darling, making his first start against his old club, shut down the Hawks’ center on the penalty shot attempt.
The stop seemed to energize Carolina, and five minutes later McGinn scored the first of his two goals on the night, a backhander from the top of the crease after Anton Forsberg couldn’t control a rebound. The Canes’ lead was doubled two minutes later when Jeff Skinner cleaned up an unassisted chance seconds after Brent Seabrook cleared the puck off the goal line with Forsberg way out of position.
Alex DeBrincat pulled the Blackhawks to within one just as a tripping penalty to Marcus Kruger expired, taking a pinpoint pass from Jonathan Toews and beating a helpless Darling. McGinn restored the home team’s two-goal lead a minute and a half later, swiping the puck from Duncan Keith and beating an unprepared Forsberg.
But in the third period, the heavy legs started weighing Carolina down. DeBrincat matched McGinn with his second of the game 3:16 into the third period, and Gustav Forsling tied it through a screen with 8:30 to go. Bill Peters contemplated challenging for goaltender interference, but decided against it. While Carolina got some good pressure late, including a crossbar dented by the luckless (and still goalless) Sebastian Aho, Forsberg shut them down and sent the game to overtime.
The Hurricanes had the best chance of the extra session to take the bonus point. Justin Faulk skated around DeBrincat and was one-on-one with Forsberg, only to be denied. His rebound bounced to Elias Lindholm, who fired off Faulk and sent the puck into the crease, where it sat for an eternity with no Hurricanes able to get to it.
Finally, Saad ended it on the Hawks’ only shot of overtime, beating Darling through the five-hole and denying the Canes a back-to-back sweep. Forsberg earned the win by making 35 saves; Darling made 26, but conceded three goals on Chicago’s final six shots of the game.
The Canes return to the ice on Monday when the Dallas Stars will visit PNC Arena for the only time this season.
Rank the Performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.