The running joke around the league is that the Carolina Hurricanes are the Blackhawks East due to Ron Francis’s trend of trading with Chicago over the past few seasons. Five former Hawks, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Scott Darling, Joakim Nordstrom, Klas Dahlbeck and Teuvo Teravainen all celebrated their trip back to Chicago with a 3-2 Canes victory on Thursday..
The game was a tale of two backups, which pitted Darling against J.F Berube. Berube is the third goalie on the Hawks’ depth chart, and this was just his fourth start of the season. Both goaltenders looked shaky early with three goals scored in the first period, before settling down in the second period.
The scoring started with a slapshot goal from Brent Seabrook just six minutes in. The Canes answered with a Jaccob Slavin slapshot goal just minutes later, but the Blackhawks were able to get the final goal of the period when Patrick Sharp buried a backhand goal after Darling overcommitted and got caught well past the left post.
The Canes found their game in the second period. They outshot Chicago 17-5 and were able to tie up the game in spectacular fashion. Early in the period, Elias Lindholm found Justin Williams with a stretch pass after Williams came out of the penalty box. Williams, with plenty of time on the breakaway, dangled and put one in high to the glove past Berube. Williams’ goal and assist were good for his 10th multiple point game of the season.
The Blackhawks may be slumping this year, but the Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews line remains one of the best in the league. Teams can’t afford to take the night off against these two. Drawing the assignment tonight was Slavin and Brett Pesce, reunited after a few games separated.
Entering the game Kane was on a 10-game point streak but that came to an end. The Canes’ shutdown pair continued their strong play by holding the line without a goal, doing exactly what a team has to do to beat the Blackhawks at home.
Both teams only had a pair of power play chances, but only one team’s connected. The Canes were perfect on the penalty kill tonight and a big reason has been the return of Joakim Nordstrom. Nordstrom hasn’t been impressive on the scoring sheet, but he always plays well on the PK. While he was out the Canes had the third worst penalty kill in the league at just 63.6%, but they killed both Carolina penalties tonight. The tying goal also came with the PK unit still on the ice, springing Williams for the breakaway goal.
For his part, Darling, earning his first win since February 9, was on his game in his hometown with his family looking on. A big stop on David Kampf late in the second, keeping the game tied, gave the big goalie momentum and was one of 17 straight stops following Sharp’s goal.
Not to be outdone, the power play unit scored the game-winning goal in the third period. The Canes had a couple of chances on the power play and eventually, great net-front presence from Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho were able to produce the game-winner. Teravainen fired a puck from the point towards the net and Aho was able to redirect it past Berube. This was Aho’s 24th goal of the year, matching his total from the 2016-2017 season.
The Canes are now off until Monday when they visit Madison Square Garden to take on the Rangers for the final time this season.
Rank the Performances
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