RALEIGH – Almost, but not quite.
They had a 2-0 lead, a goalie being welcomed home as a hero by the opposing crowd, and it looked as if the Jeremy Colliton would have his first win as a head coach in the National Hockey League.
Not so fast. The lead disappeared, the improved offense slowed, and in the end, it was the Hurricanes that spolied a homecoming and a first in overtime for the Blackhawks.
Colliton did get his first point in the NHL, but a second period lead evaporated and the Carolina beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime at PNC Arena. Sebastian Aho’s goal for the home squad extends the Blackhawks winless streak to eight games. Monday night’s overtime loss is just the second for the team in this difficult stretch.
Cam Ward, who returned to Carolina for the first time since joining the Blackhawks, was honored before the game by the Hurricanes for his career with the franchise. He was in the net to help the team to their only Stanley Cup title in 2006 as a rookie. Now he was in net for opposition, and he held Carolina scoreless through the first half of the game as his offense gave him some support.
Jonathan Toews, playing on a line with Patrick Kane for the first time this season, got the Blackhawks on the board in the first with his ninth goal of the year and Alex DeBrincat’s score in the second made it 2-0.
Then a former member of the Blackhawks got the Hurricanes’ offense going. Teuvo Teravainen’s scored with 5:53 to go in the second on the power play and then Michael Ferland followed with one on the man advantage to even the game at two.
As they have during the stretch, the Blackhawks failed to generate much offense for the rest of regulation, continuing a stretch where the team has only scored three goals twice. Aho’s goal 1:16 into the extra session was the third shot to get past Ward, who made 34 saves in the effort.
It was close to a maiden win for Colliton era, but once again it will have to wait.