RALEIGH, N.C. — Duncan Keith turned on the afterburners, hit the defensive zone in a blur and broke up a three-on-one chance by the Hurricanes.
The sequence in the second period appeared to be just another strong play by the Blackhawks, who were on cruise control. But in the end the veteran defenseman’s effort turned out to be a key moment of a 3-2 shootout victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
The Hawks roared out of the gate against the Hurricanes before taking their foot off the gas and allowing Carolina to hang around just long enough to tie the score late and throw a scare into the Stanley Cup champion
Despite the letdown, the Hawks left Raleigh with their third consecutive victory and a little history. The win was the 2,500th for the franchise, making the Hawks the last of the Original Six teams to reach the mark.
They got there with a winning score by Patrick Sharp in the shootout and goals by Sharp—the 200th of his career—and Marian Hossa in regulation. Corey Crawford earned the victory as the Hawks improved to 4-1-1 on the season with their first win at Carolina since Jan. 14, 1998. After opening the season with a two-goal victory over the Capitals, the Hawks have now played in five consecutive games decided by one score. Trailing 2-0 entering the third, the Hurricanes roared back with third-period scores by Alexander Semin and Ron Hainsey but in the end fell as Cam Ward suffered the loss after putting in a workmanlike effort.
It was all Hawks in the early going as they won nearly every puck battle and that resulted in scores by Sharp and Hossa. The first came when Michal Handzus sent the puck behind the defense and a streaking Sharp scooped it up and scored off a breakaway.
Not long after, Hossa made it 2-0 after a terrific effort by Andrew Shaw to strip the Hurricanes’ Brett Bellemore of the puck and moments later Hossa slipped a backhander past Ward.
The momentum shifted in the second when the Hurricanes exerted their will and peppered Crawford with 14 shots while the Hawks recorded eight. Carolina kept up the pressure in the third and tied it on the goals by Semin and Hainsey to set up the shootout.