With a number of key players missing from the lineup, the Blackhawks handled their business and earned two points for a regulation victory at home on Friday night.
The Hawks dominated the first period, not allowing a shot to reach Corey Crawford for almost 12 minutes to open the game. But the score remained tied heading to the first break.
Patrick Sharp got the Hawks on the board, receiving a pretty pass from Andrew Shaw and completing the breakaway just over three minutes into the middle stanza. The goal was Sharp’s 30th of the season, a benchmark he has now reached in four of the last six NHL campaigns.
It took more than 13 minutes for another goal to be scored, and it was the Hawks once again impacting the scoreboard. Kris Versteeg handled a great pass from Nick Leddy and scored his 11th of the season to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. It was Versteeg’s first goal since the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field on March 1.
Unfortunately, that margin wouldn’t last long.
Alexander Semin scored with 38 seconds remaining in the second period to cut the Hawks’ lead in half, and would add his second of the game and 21st of the season early in the third to tie the score. Semin’s second goal came while the Hawks were trying to kill a 5-on-3 advantage with two key penalty killers – Duncan Keith and Michal Handzus – in the box.
Only 31 seconds after Semin tied the game, Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed goal that would hold up as the game-winner.
In the game, the Blackhawks killed five of six Canes power plays, but weren’t able to convert any of their advantages.
Corey Crawford allowed two goals but played well in the final 40 minutes. After a slow first period, Crawford finished the night with 26 saves against 28 shots. On the other end of the rink, Anton Khudobin allowed three goals on 25 shots in the loss.
Andrew Shaw continued his hot play. His assist on Sharp’s goal extended his point streak to three straight games; he has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his last eight games.
Jeremy Morin returned to the lineup and saw ice time on the Hawks first power play early in the game. His shifts became fewer as the game continued, however, and he finished the night with only 6:52 on the ice. He did manage to register one shot on net and two hits in only 12 shifts, though.
Sheldon Brookbank played well as the 12th forward. He received a team-low nine shifts in the game, but made a couple key defensive plays in the third period to keep Carolina from having a quality scoring chance.
The Blackhawks next game is Sunday night against the Nashville Predators… and it may be Teuvo Teräväinen’s NHL debut.