It was honestly a better fate than the Hurricanes deserved as they played nowhere near the level that they are capable of but they regardless managed to steal a point to extend their point streak to 13 games, tying a franchise record.
While the team may not have been very sharp, the one saving grace of the night was the stellar play of Petr Mrazek.
The Czech netminder was outstanding throughout the game, making high-danger save after high-danger save — 10 in total according to NaturalStatTrick.com — on a myriad of odd-man rushes and in-close chances.
It bodes well for the Canes as he continues to get back into game form after his short injury absence.
Speaking of returning to form, Martin Necas — who very candidly had stated that he had “sucked” a week ago — extended his personal goal streak to three games now as he roofed a slick, shorthanded backhand in alone against Collin Delia to start off the scoring for the game.
As stated before, the Canes’ fortune was very much the Blackhawks’ misfortune though as the Necas breakaway all stemmed from an unfortunate play where Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith collided with linesman Ryan Gibbons resulting in a knee to Keith’s head. Keith would not return to the game.
The Blackhawks would lose yet another player as the game progressed as Brett Connolly and Steven Lorentz turned right into each other’s paths with neither having noticed until it was too late. Connolly absorbed the worst of it and would not return either.
Other than that though, the game really started to swing Chicago’s way the more the game went on. The amount of breakaways that the Hawks were afforded was startling to see from a usually strong Carolina blueline. Somehow Carolina was holding on, but that was all thanks to Mrazek.
But just as much as Mrazek was being called upon, Delia also rose to the challenge on the otherwise and put together quite a few highlight reel saves to keep his team in the game.
The true duel of the game wasn’t the Hurricanes vs the Blackhawks, but instead the battle between Mrazek and Delia. The two netminders faced quite a few Grade-A chances, but in the end someone had to come out ahead.
It turned out to be the Hawks.
The Blackhawks finally broke through Mrazek’s wall late in the third period as Riley Stillman collected his first career goal in the same building in which his father, Cory, had won a Stanley Cup 15 years earlier.
The Hawks forced their way to overtime and they finished it there as Alex DeBrincat sniped it home from the slot to close out the series.
The Canes have two games left in the regular season and will face the Nashville Predators Saturday and Monday in what could potentially be a first round matchup.