Chicago dropped a 4-1 result to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, wrapping up their longest homestand of the season. Brandon Saad scored the lone Blackhawks goal while Robin Lehner made a second straight start for the first time this season, stopping 19 of the 23 shots he faced. Saad's third goal of the year tied him with Patrick Kane for the team lead through eight games.
Carolina fell in overtime on Thursday night in Columbus, 4-3. Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Dzingel and Sebastian Aho each found the back of the net as the Hurricanes fumbled a 3-1 lead after the opening frame. Hamilton leads all Hurricanes in scoring with six goals and five assists in 10 games and is now riding a three-game point streak.
The Hurricanes topped the Blackhawks in both meetings a year ago with a 4-3 win at the United Center on Nov. 8 and a 3-2 overtime win four days later in Carolina. Kane had a goal and two assists in the contests while Aho and Andrei Svechnikov paced the Hurricanes with a goal and two assists each.
Calvin de Haan will face his former team for the first time on Saturday after being traded from Carolina to Chicago on June 24. The 28-year-old spent a single season with the Hurricanes, logging 14 points (1G, 13A) in 74 regular season games and one goal in 12 postseason appearances.
"It's a great place to play. Small little town, small market but as most of the NHL saw last year, that's a pretty loud building to play in and it's pretty fun," de Haan said. "It's always awkward playing against your old teammates and stuff, but we have a lot of good memories there and we made some good friends over the year and looking forward to the return."
de Haan has played in all but two games for Chicago this season and was promoted to a top-pair role alongside Duncan Keith after Connor Murphy was placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve on Wednesday. Following Thursday's frustrating loss, he and his new team will look to prove it was just a fluke against his former side.
"It's plain and simple. It was an off night (on Thursday)," he continued. "We strung together a few games before that that were pretty good and we could've maybe won those. (Head coach Jeremy Colliton)'s saying the right things and I think it's on us now to buy in and take the message and go from there."
Part of Chicago's focus heading on the road for the first time this season (opening trip abroad aside) is the mentality of the group to stick in it through the tough moments, like Thursday's loss.
"We didn't like our last game," Colliton said. "The games before that, we were moving in the right direction and not getting results. My concern is that we got away from it. We were discouraged. I would like us to be a little bit tougher mentally to be able to push through that. Now we'll get another opportunity to show that we're on the right track with a good performance."
For Colliton, he said his message to the group remains the same as it was coming off the loss to wrap up the home stretch. Now, it's on the players to buy in.
"If we work and we get guys that are engaged, then we've got a really good team. That's what we need."
"Ultimately your top guys are the ones who drive the bus," Colliton continued when asked about the leadship group stepping up. "If they're leading with their work ethic and their compete level, being on the puck and making right decisions all the time, then everyone else will follow. The whole team has got another level, so (I'm) excited to see the response (against Carolina)."
"It's just about finding a way," Kane said. "We can talk about it all we want and say things, but at the end of the day we've got to go out and get the job done. I think everyone, as a man, take it upon yourself first and we'll go from there."