CHICAGO – One of the key differences between the Blackhawks of October and the team that’s taken the ice in November is their offensive urgency.
To start off all but one of their six victories in the month, the team took at least a 2-0 lead on their opponent, something the group didn’t do for a lot of the first part of the season when they slid under the .500 mark. Their ability to trigger the offense quickly has helped to boost Jeremy Colliton’s team over .500 the past few weeks and brighten the outlook for this season after a gloomy start.
But against one of the teams that shut them out in October, the Blackhawks reverted back to their old ways. A slow start on offense led to an early deficit, and despite a great finishing flurry, it wasn’t enough to salvage overtime or a victory.
The Hurricanes raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first two periods as the home team’s attack sputtered, putting just 12 shots on the net in the first 40 minutes. They reversed that trend completely in the third but they couldn’t make it all up as they lost 3-2 Tuesday night at the United Center, putting an end to the Blackhawks’ four-game winning streak. It’s the second time Carolina has beaten them in the regular season, doing so with strong defense as they also did back on October 26th when they shut out the Blackhawks 4-0 in Raleigh.
At least this time they had a response in the third period, outshooting the Hurricanes 20-6 and getting on the board with goals from Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy in the final eight minutes to make it a game. The pressure continued for the home team as time ticked down, but Petr Mrazek held the Blackhawks out of the net the rest of the way, and Sebastian Aho’s empty-net goal in the final minute put a cap on the visitor’s victory.
Martin Necas, Andrei Svechnikov, and Nino Niederreiter had the Hurricanes goals in the first 32 minutes against Robin Lehner, who stopped 30 shots on the evening.
Along with the end of the winning streak, the game was a bit of a hiccup during the Blackhawks’ best offensive stretch of the young season. In the four-game winning streak, the team put up 21 goals to help jump-start the season that started a bit slow in October. To put that stretch in perspective, the Blackhawks scored a total of 22 goals in their first 11 games of the season when they picked up just three victories.
Unfortunately, that trend returned a bit on Tuesday night, as a slow start led to the end of the team’s longest winning streak so far this season.