Analysis from Chicago
→ A week after the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in Raleigh, the Blackhawks sought revenge in their own building and topped the Canes 2-1. Victor Rask scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, Artemi Panarin's power-play tally was the game-winner and Scott Darling made 39 saves on 40 shots.
"I thought we were the better team most of the game, but Darling had a hell of a game," Ty Rattie said. "That's the way it goes sometimes."
Video: CAR Recap: 'Canes pepper Darling, fall to Hawks, 2-1
→ The Hurricanes controlled the flow of the game for much of tonight and vastly outpaced the Blackhawks in shots on goal. Darling, who was defeated by the Canes a week ago in Raleigh, was the home team's difference-maker.
In the first period, the Hurricanes out-shot the Blackhawks 19-9, helped along by nine shots on two power-plays, but they could not break through and trailed 1-0.
"We've got to find a way to execute on the power play," Jeff Skinner said. "We had some good looks and their goalie made some good saves, but you've got to find a way to get one there. We had enough opportunities."
"We needed to get one there in the first. We had a lot of chances in the first, some odd-man rushes and a couple power plays," head coach Bill Peters said. "We needed to get on the board there."
In the second period, Darling turned a Joakim Nordstrom to Jordan Staal shorthanded bid. Later, Ty Rattie was sprung on a breakaway attempt, but the puck was bouncing and never really settled down. Still, Rattie got a stick on it, but Darling shouldered the puck away.
The Canes finally broke through with just 4.2 seconds left in the second period when Victor Rask corralled a rebound off a Rattie shot and put the puck past Darling. It was Rask's first goal in 10 games and, with the primary helper, Rattie's first point as a Hurricane.
"Rattie, I thought he was going score, but the D-man came and blocked it, and it bounced right in front of me," Rask said. "I haven't scored in a while, so that felt good."
"On the goal there, he's in a good spot going to the net," Skinner said of Rattie. "He played well tonight."
"Skinner made a good play to protect it on the wall and get it to the net," Rattie said. "I had an open net, but whoever was in front blocked it. Rasky, good on him to stick around the net and he put it in."
The Hurricanes would end up putting 40 shots on goal, but couldn't find the equalizer in the third period.
"We definitely had some good looks," Skinner said.
→ Though he took the loss, Cam Ward was one of, if not the Canes' best player on the ice tonight. He made two great stops in the second period to keep his team within a goal. First, it was a breakaway stop on Patrick Kane, as he flashed the left pad. Not too long after, he turned away Toews from point-blank range. In the third period, he denied Dennis Rasmussen's bid to again stretch Chicago's lead to two goals. Starting in his 15th consecutive game, Ward showed no sign of fatigue.
"He was huge," Skinner said. "He gave us a chance and made some big saves."
→ The Blackhawks got on the board first in the first period with a nice passing play, as Vinnie Hinostroza found Marian Hossa, who delivered a tape-to-tape pass to Jonathan Toews, and he finished.
Chicago stretched its lead to two goals in the second period on the power play when Artemi Panarin scored on a wrist shot from the far faceoff dot. That goal came on an unfortunate sequence after Viktor Stalberg's stick betrayed him on a clearing attempt.
"They took advantage of a situation where a stick broke on a shot block on the penalty kill," Peters said. "It's a failed clear because of the stick."
→ On tap for the Hurricanes is a four-game homestand, and all four games will feature Eastern Conference opponents. It's a big stretch for the Canes, who are looking to climb the standings ladder in the East.
"Huge, huge," Peters said of the upcoming schedule. "We've got to go on a streak."