The Carolina Hurricanes took the defending-champions, Chicago Blackhawks, tonight and while they were able to put up a good fight and semi-comeback, they could not do much else as they lost 3-2.
Patrick Sharp got the scoring started in the second period when he split Ron Hainsey and Justin Faulk to go on a breakaway against Anton Khudobin. Sharp did not make a mistake as he went backhand to the right over Khudobin’s pad.
Another poor defensive play left Kris Versteeg with a clear shot on Khudobin. Versteeg snapped a wrist shot over the goalie’s glove to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.
Alexander Semin got the run stopped in the last minute of the second period when Eric Staal hit him on a 2-on-1 to the far right. Semin one-timed the puck past a stretching Corey Crawford.
Semin got his second of the game 2:58 into the third when Staal won a faceoff back to him, then the Russian fired a wrist shot past Crawford’s glove.
But 31 seconds later, Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goal shorthanded as he tracked down a high shot that ricocheted to the neutral zone, went on a breakaway and beat Khudobin with a wrist shot.
The Hurricanes’ defense made some bad mistakes in this one, especially Andrej Sekera. The defenseman made a lazy play on Versteeg’s goal and while, Toews’ was a bad coincidence, he could have played it a little better.
While none of the goals were Khudobin’s fault they were just wrist shots and it would have been nice if he had gotten his glove on one of those. But things don’t always go that well.
The positives to this one is that the Canes stuck with a contender and while the season is mostly lost, the players are still competing, which is really all you can ask for.
The Hurricanes play tomorrow and won’t have that much rest, but they’ll need a better defensive outing and some offense from someone besides Semin.