Good teams find a way to win. It’s rapidly becoming quite clear that the 2021 Carolina Hurricanes are a very, very good team. The Hurricanes won 4-3 in the shootout for the second straight game Tuesday night, topping the Blackhawks in Chicago to extend their winning streak to five games.
Andrei Svechnikov scored in regulation and nabbed the shootout winner for the Canes (6-1-0), Jordan Staal grabbed two assists, Warren Foegele picked up a goal and an assist and Vincent Trocheck scored his fifth of the season. James Reimer stopped 30 of 33 Blackhawks shots, and all three he faced in the shootout.
The Canes welcomed back Foegele, Jaccob Slavin, Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Martinook for the first time since Jan. 18 as all four made their return from the NHL’s COVID protocol list. There was some to be expected rust for the quarter, but they settled in as the game went along.
Chicago mostly dominated the overtime period, but Reimer kept it scoreless, sending the Hurricanes to the shootout for the second game in a row.
In the skills competition, Svechnikov scored the lone goal, and Reimer was superb, stopping all three Blackhawks shooters, including a dazzling stop on Patrick Kane.
James Reimer out-waited Patrick Kane and made a big glove save to bring the Canes to that point. pic.twitter.com/pIr0rahMk8— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) February 3, 2021
The Canes finally broke a 2-2 tie with about 13 minutes to play in the third period, as Trocheck found himself in the right place at the right time, firing the rebound of a blocked shot from Nino Niedrreiter into an empty net for his fifth of the season to make it 3-2.
The lead was short-lived, however, as about seven minutes later, the Canes lost Dylan Strome in front of the net, and he knocked in a centering feed from Alex DeBrincat to make it a 3-3 game.
Carolina had a flurry of golden chances from Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho with about four minutes left, but Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen came up big to keep it tied.
A high-scoring first period saw Carolina jump out to a quick 2-0 lead, but surrender two goals thanks to a penalty and uncharacteristic lapse in the last 2:02 of the period.
The Hurricanes wasted little time striking first. Staal, who now has points in four straight games since returning from the COVID protocol list, used his power and size to fend off a defender and slid a perfect one-handed pass across the crease to Svechnikov, who tapped it in for a 1-0 lead not quite four minutes in.
Jordan Staal with a perfect one-handed pass to Andrei Svechnikov and the Hurricanes take an early 1-0 lead in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/9OkhgNPSyR— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) February 3, 2021
The Staal-Foegele-Svechnikov line stayed hot late in the first, as, with about five minutes left in the opening frame, Staal grabbed a loose puck between and made another slick feed, sliding it across to Foegele, who snapped a shot past Lankinen to make it 2-0.
Shortly after the Foegele goal, Chicago cut the lead in half with a power-play goal, as Philipp Kurashev finished off a pretty tic-tac-toe sequence with a tap-in to make it 2-1.
The Blackhawks tied it at two with 18 seconds left in the period. Jaccob Slavin, playing his first game since Jan. 18 after missing the last three coming off the COVID protocol list and likely facing a little rust, made an unusual turnover to Patrick Kane in the defensive zone, who snapped a shot past Reimer to tie it up.
Following a strong start to the second period for the Canes, a defensive lapse nearly allowed Chicago to take the lead, but Reimer made a sharp save on Dominik Kubalik in the dead slot, and turned away the rebound for good measure.
Following a hit on Brett Pesce midway through the second period, Svechnikov responded, leveling Carl Soderberg in the neutral zone.
Andrei Svechnikov with a huge open-ice hit on Carl Soderberg. pic.twitter.com/Z2N3tV3Cu0— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) February 3, 2021
Reimer again kept the game tied at two late in the second period with a head save on a Patrick Kane breakaway.
The Canes, who moved into first place in the Central Division with the win, will be back at it against the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday.