The Blackhawks saw their three-game winning streak snapped on Friday night at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3.
Chicago saw goals from Patrick Kane, Ian Mitchell and Carl Soderberg, but they were not enough as Carolina climbed within a point of the top spot in the Central Division with their 11th win of the season. Kevin Lankinen allowed four goals on 37 shots in the loss, with the Hurricanes adding an empty-netter for their fifth late in the game.
Video: CHI Recap: Kane's effort not enough in 5-3 road loss
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
For the second time in three meetings against the Hurricanes this season, the Blackhawks worked their offensive magic to overcome a two-goal hole in the final minutes of a period. Both involved goals from Patrick Kane and a rookie -- Philipp Kurashev on Feb. 2 and Ian Mitchell on Friday night.
In the first matchup, Kurashev and Kane each tallied in the final 2:02 of the opening frame to knot things up 2-2. The Hurricanes eventually took that one in a shootout, 4-3, but it was the quick two-punch response that vaulted the Blackhawks back into the contest.
On Friday, it took a little longer for Carolina to get a two-goal advantage, going up by a pair early in the second period. Later in the frame, though, Kane started things off with an incredible spin-o-rama backhand strike before Mitchell's equalizer over the final 3:21 of the period. It once again gave the Blackhawks life headed into an intermission with a two-goal swing, but it was not enough to earn a point the second time around.
"Good play by (Alex DeBrincat) just to chip it up to me there, especially when we were in our own zone," Kane said of his tally to open the visitor's scoring. "Kind of toe-picked a little bit, but when I got my head up, I saw I had a little space and that guy was on my left shoulder, so I thought it was a good chance to try the spin-o-rama.
"Missed my shot a little bit. I was trying to go high-blocker and went through the 7-hole. That was a big goal for us, too. Especially down 2-0 and to make it 2-1, got a little life off that and were able to tie it up pretty quickly after. Good little sequence there for the team."
"That was a big goal for us," Colliton added. "We were kind of hanging around in the game. Didn't generate a whole bunch, but it was fairly even and then that's a big goal and we kind of got a lift from that and get another one there. Looked like we might be able to steal one. He's a great player. Makes something out of nothing."
After a pair of hard-fought contests at the United Center earlier this month, Chicago knew they had a big test in front of them on Friday night in Carolina with a team that was more in mid-season form and not coming off an extended schedule break like the Hurricanes were a few weeks ago.
"You want to measure yourselves against the best and this team, they're right at the top of our division and probably the league," Colliton said after the game. "We wanted the challenge. In our barn we were right with them, took three of four points. Tonight, they were better than us. That's how you measure yourself. We know we've got work to do, that's not a surprise. We're not a finished product here. We'll take some lessons from the game and keep getting better."
The Hurricanes play a similar hard-working, hard-pressing style to that the Blackhawks have instilled themselves this season, but on Friday night the home side executed it at a higher level, not allowing Chicago much time or space in their own end.
"I think our systems are very similar. It's a high-pressure system, we don't want to give the other team any time," Mitchell said. "I think we can take a lot from how they played us tonight and try to learn from that and try to replicate that against other teams in the league."
"We're trying to ingrain in our culture here where we bring that work ethic, that battle level every night," Kane said after the game. "That's just a team that does that every night and they're not an easy team to play against. I think you learn from those things: be a good, hard-working team away from the puck; when you're in a puck battle, win a puck battle and come out with it. It's going to make the game easier. They play in your face all night and it's a tough team to play against."
CHANGE OF PLANS
The Blackhawks woke up on Friday morning with a back-to-back set against the Canes on their schedule beginning with Friday's tilt. By the time they took the ice for morning skate, though, the NHL had postponed Saturday's rematch between the two teams, instead opting to have Carolina play host to Tampa Bay in the weekend time slot originally held by Chicago.
To date, Chicago was the only Central Division team yet to have a game postponed or moved on the season. By virtue of that, the rest of the division has fallen behind on the number of games played. The Lightning are coming off already their third four-day layoff of the young season due to schedule changes. Chicago, on the other hand, has seen their longest break thus far last just two days (on two occurrences). Now, they'll have three days between Friday's contest and Tuesday's game in Columbus.
''We've been pretty lucky so far,'' Colliton said of not seeing a schedule change until Friday. ''We've been able to stay on schedule. Obviously, we had some COVID issues of our own that we were able to get through… you have to be flexible and not let any of those changes affect your mindset. We just have to focus on what we can do, control what we can control.''
''Just try to rest up as best we can," Kane said of the next few days. "It's a shortened schedule this year and a lot of games in a short period of time, so I think when you get the days off and you get to rest, you take advantage of it. Obviously we'll have a couple practices before our next game in Columbus, so have a good couple practices, take advantage of the rest and be ready to go next game."