In the Carolina Hurricanes’ first nationally televised game of the season, the team was hoping for a better outcome than it had on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes came out of the gate on a mission, but Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen weathered the first period onslaught to give his team time to breathe.
They responded with a goal 29 seconds into the second period and another less than four minutes later for their only two goals of the game. Andrei Svechnikov scored the Hurricanes’ only goal on a tip from a Brady Skjei shot that then deflected off Wyatt Kalynuk’s left leg late in the second period.
The Hurricanes three-game winning streak and five-game point streak both ended on Tuesday.
The Lightning lost to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday as well, which meant the chance for the Hurricanes to jump into the Central Division lead fell by the wayside, and to make matters worse the Panthers defeated the Red Wings to leap into a tie for first with Tampa Bay. So instead of sole possession of first place, the Hurricanes now sit in third.
What a start
The NBC Sports Network commentators, John Walton and Pierre McGuire had a love fest for the Hurricanes in the first period and we all could see why. Carolina opened up the game with a torrid pace. The Blackhawks were caught off guard and couldn’t keep the puck out of their own zone for most of the period.
As mentioned earlier, Lankinen was the reason that Chicago won this game because of his play in the opening period. He was hit with a barrage of shots from every angle and was able to fend them off to keep the score knotted at zero. This gave his team a chance to regroup in the locker room and get the two goals early on in the second period.
Trocheck returns, notches point
Vincent Trocheck returned to the Canes lineup on Tuesday, his first game since March 9 against Nashville. He had been out with an upper body injury.
“I thought I felt pretty good from the start. Just needed to get a few hits and feel the game a little bit,” Trocheck said after the game.
Before his injury, Trocheck was leading the team with 13 goals and 24 assists and had a six-game point streak going. Trocheck was given the secondary assist on the Svechnikov goal in the second period after he won the faceoff in the Blackhawks’ zone to set up the goal.
Trocheck also had a good night in the faceoff circle, winning 67% of his faceoffs in the game. It was an all-around solid game for Trocheck in his return, and head coach Rod Brind’Amour felt that way as well.
In his post game media availability, Brind’Amour said that he felt that Trocheck was probably the Hurricanes’ best player on Tuesday.
Dougie’s point streak ends at 14
Dougie Hamilton’s 14-game point streak ended on Tuesday. The streak began back on Feb. 27 with an assist in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 win at Florida.
Hamilton notched two goals and 14 assists during the streak, which is the longest streak in the NHL this season and the longest for a defenseman in franchise history.
Even though the streak is over, let’s not forget about the great season Hamilton is having (27 points in 34 games) and the impact role he plays on this team.
Ned still looking good
Alex Nedeljkovic is credited with the loss, but despite that stat, Ned played another solid game in net. The first goal was a two-on-one opportunity created by a deflection in the neutral zone and was rather soft.
The second goal was on the Blackhawks’ power play and caused by a massive mistake by Brett Pesce, who turned the puck over right in front of the net after being surrounded by two Chicago players. He had an opportunity to pass the puck out, but instead the turnover led to the Blackhawks’ second and game winning goal.
Nedeljkovic made several great saves to keep the Hurricanes in the game, and that is what he has been able to do all season. He is now 8-3-2 on the year and 6-1-1 in his last eight starts.
A statistic that NBCSN gave Tuesday night said that the Hurricanes were 0-3-0 when entering the third period trailing. That record is now 0-4-0, but I think the most fascinating thing about that is that means the Hurricanes were either tied or winning entering the third period in 30 out of their 34 games this season.
The Hurricanes will have the day off tomorrow in Chicago, but will get right back at it on Thursday night to try and split the two games against the Blackhawks before heading home for a two-week homestand. The Hurricanes have eight straight games at home beginning on Saturday night against the Dallas Stars.
After Thursday night’s game in Chicago, the Canes will not hit the road again until April 19 when they head to Tampa Bay for a back-to-back.
Look for the Hurricanes to come out and finish the job on Thursday so they can get a little revenge, and come home with momentum heading into the homestand.