Despite carrying play for long stretches, especially in the first period, the Hurricanes could not overcome a poor stretch of play in the second period and a hot goalie in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canes’ three-game winning streak and five-game point streak came to an end in the defeat. Carolina outshot Chicago 32-16, out-chanced the Blackhawks 26-12 and led 62-32 in shot attempts, but Kevin Lankinen was excellent in net for Chicago, stopping 31 shots for the victory.
Andrei Svechnikov scored Carolina’s lone goal, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 14 saves in net.
The Canes flew out of the gate in this one with multiple strong shifts and chances, outshooting Chicago 9-1 five minutes and change in.
Carolina continued carrying play the entire first period, and dominated the Blackhawks. However, thanks to the play of Lankinen, despite outshooting Chicago 13-5, and, per Natural Stat Trick, racked up a 65.79% corsi for at 5 on 5, outchancing the Hawks 11-3, racking up seven high-danger scoring chances and a 97.08 expected goals for percentage, the game was scoreless through one.
Almost expectedly after a first period titled so far in the other direction, Chicago dented the scoreboard 29 seconds into the middle frame, as Dylan Strome came in with a head of steam and beat Nedeljkovic over the glove-side shoulder to make it 1-0.
The Blackhawks continued their strong start to the middle frame on a power play just a few minutes later as Patrick Kane stripped Brett Pesce in the middle of the nice and fed a cross-crease pass to Alex DeBrincat to make it 2-0.
Carolina finally found the back of the net late in the second as Brady Skjei threw a puck on net from a sharp angle that deflected off Svechnikov in front and past Lankinen to make it 2-1.
The Canes get a bounce, and now they're back in the game.— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) March 31, 2021
Brady Skjei threw the puck towards the net, it deflected off of Andrei Svechnikov and then off of the Chicago defender. 2-1 hockey game in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/KQotv0YU0f
Playing in his first game after an eight-game absence, Vincent Trocheck picked up a secondary assist on Svechnikov’s goal. While it’s not a true “streak” with the games he missed, Trocheck has picked up at least a point in each of his last seven games played.
Carolina entered the third period trailing for just the third time this season, and was not anymore successful than the other three times. The Canes weren’t able to generate much offense in a tight-checking period, and ultimately dropped what Rod Brind’Amour described as “kind of a gross hockey game.”
Canes have trailed after the second period three times this season, gone 0-3. Can they change that?— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) March 31, 2021
Despite the loss in Chicago, the Canes had a very strong month of March, earning points in all but two games with a 10-2-2 record.