Slow first two periods sink the Chicago Blackhawks against the Carolina Hurricanes.
As strongly as the Blackhawks have been playing entering Tuesday nights game it was expected that they might see some sort of set back in the near future and it just so happened that the set back would be against the Hurricanes. During the first two periods of the game the Blackhawks looked to have slipped back into old habits with a stagnate offense, poor defensive zone coverage and being dominated in the shot column.
The first period would unfold pretty unspectacularly until the Hurricanes would force Erik Gustafsson to make a turn over at the blue line and would give the Canes a 2-0 chance that they made no mistake with giving them the 1-0. Entering the second period that is where the Blackhawks really looked the sloppy team that they had been earlier in the year.
No offensive pressure on their end, a terrible looking power play and just the inability to defend against the Hurricane onslaught would lead to the Hurricanes entering the third period up 3-0 on goals from Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter.
The start to the third would honestly be no better with the Blackhawks struggling to find their offensive footing. Although they would begin to tilt the shot total there were no high quality second or third chances given up by Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek.
Things would change late in the period as Patrick Kane, on his 31st birthday, would make a spectacular pass to Gustafsson that would be tipped past Mrazek giving the Blackhawks a bit of life. Just 70 seconds later, Kane would again make his presence know when he would find defenseman Connor Murphy in the slot for a shot that would trickle through Mrazek and bring the Blackhawks within one goal.
The Blackhawks would continue to pound the Canes net with quality chances and with two minutes left would pull Lehner, but to no avail. The Canes would net an empty net goal after a blatant missed cross checking call on Sebastian Aho and would fall 4-2.
Even after a poor two and a half periods the Blackhawks were still able to muster a solid effort in the end against Hurricanes and were nearly able to pull out at least a point against a solid team in Carolina. While there are no moral victories in hockey I think that we shouldn’t be looking at this game as a step back but more as a bump in the road.
The Blackhawks will need a full sixty minute effort on Thursday when Tampa Bay and their high-powered offense come to town because with another effort like Tuesday nights it could be a blow out on Thursday. To avoid that the Blackhawks just need to simplify their game, take care of the puck and capitalize on their chance and they should be fine when the Lightning come to town.