The Blackhawks got some good news before Tuesday evening’s game: Alex DeBrincat and Nicolas Beaudin were activated off the COVID Protocol List. Both were immediately inserted into the lineup.
Kevin Lankinen was back between the pipes for Chicago; he appears to be taking a strong hold of the top of the depth chart.
Unfortunately, they were joining a roster that was hosting a really good Carolina Hurricanes roster that was also getting healthy. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin and forwards Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Martinook and Warren Foegele all returned to the lineup for the Canes.
James Reimer was in net for Carolina.
The first period was split in two pieces. The opening 15 minutes were the Jordan Staal Show. Staal made an absolutely ridiculous pass to Andrei Svechnikov at 3:51 into the game to give Carolina a lead. He made another pretty play to set up Warren Foegele at 14:46 to extend Carolina’s lead to two.
At that point, it felt like the Blackhawks were struggling with Carolina’s speed and skill. It had been 15 minutes of Carolina carrying the majority of the play. And, as noted by Pat Foley, the Canes hadn’t lost a game in regulation since the 2018-19 season when they led after one period.
Miraculously, they didn’t lead at the end of the period. The Blackhawks owned the final five minutes of the period.
Haydn Fleury did the Blackhawks a favor and went to the box at 16:27, giving Chicago a power play. After failing to score on their first advantage, the Hawks needed this one to click.
A pretty passing sequence ended with Pius Suter connecting with Philipp Kurashev on the doorstep and the lead was cut to one.
Kurashev’s fourth goal of the season is tied with Suter for the NHL rookie lead.
Less than 90 seconds later, a bad turnover deep in the Carolina zone found Patrick Kane’s stick and one of the great goal scorers in US history handled the business end. The game was now tied.
Kane’s goal gave him 1,033 career regular season points, moving him into a tie for sixth all-time with Doug Weight among American-born skaters.
At the end of the period the Blackhawks had out-shot the Canes 15-9. Lankinen made a few really good saves; the two goals he allowed were largely credit to terrific plays by Staal.
Ian Mitchell started the game paired with Duncan Keith but finished with three full minutes less than Keith on the ice; Mitchell was the lowest ice time recipient on the blue line in the first period. Beaudin, meanwhile, got 90 seconds of power play time in the opening period.
After a pretty fun, up-tempo first period, the two teams committed to curing insomnia in the second.
No goals. No penalties. Carolina out-shot the Hawks 10-9 in the second. Lankinen and Reimer continued to play well in either net.
Mitchell had only logged 10:08 but was tied for the team lead with two blocked shots after two periods. Nikita Zadorov was credited with six hits in 11:38 through two.
In his first game back from COVID protocol (he wasn’t personally sick), DeBrincat looked like he had fresh legs. He was tied with Kane and Calvin de Haan for the team lead with three shots on net after 40 minutes.
Chicago stayed out of the penalty box for 44 minutes, but Beaudin ended that streak early in the third period. Thankfully, the Blackhawks were able to kill off the two minutes.
Unfortunately, the Hawks didn’t hang onto their lead for long after the penalty expired. The puck found Vincent Trocheck who was able to sneak it past Lankinen to give Carolina a 3-2 lead at 6:50 into the third.
For the next seven minutes, the two teams skated back and forth. Both sides had a few chances but neither team was able to get a flurry of chances.
But 13 minutes into the third, DeBrincat skated behind the net and found Dylan Strome parked in front. A pretty pass was converted into a game-tying goal off the stick of Strome.
DeBrincat and Kubalik picked up their second assists each on the goal, Strome’s fourth of the season.
Starting with about five minutes left in regulation, the Canes had a series of incredible chances. Lankinen made a number of tremendous saves to keep the game tied.
The Hawks were able to hang on down the stretch and regulation came to a close with the score tied at three.
Carolina out-shot the Hawks 17-6 in the third period. Lankinen stood tall and earned his team at least one point in the standing.
In the closing minutes of regulation and overtime, the fake crowd noise was noticeably turned up. Necessary? Nope. But it was.
Lankinen made a couple really impressive saves in the first three minutes of overtime to keep the score tied again. The group of Kane, DeBrincat and Keith was able to generate some speed up the ice a couple times but couldn’t finish.
If your blood pressure is an issue, the final 90 seconds of both regulation and overtime were a tough ride. But Lankinen continued to hang in. We got a skills competition!
DeBrincat, Kane and Strome were all denied by Reimer in the shootout.
Dougie Hamilton and Trocheck failed but Svechnikov ended the game with a nasty move in the third round.
Lankinen was an absolute star in this game, making 38 saves. His grasp on the number one job in Chicago is firm and it doesn’t appear he’s going anywhere. And this wasn’t against Detroit; Carolina had some of their better players back in the lineup for this game and he was stellar.
Strome won only eight of 27 faceoffs in the game but had some really good scoring chances. He was able to score the tying goal off the helper from DeBrincat.
The return of DeBrincat was a huge help to the offense. His fresh legs created some good chances in the third period and overtime. He skated 21:59 and finished tied with Kane for the team lead with four shots on net.
Mitchell skated only 13:53.
Beaudin, also returning from the COVID Protocol List, was put into some big situations by head coach Jeremy Colliton. He was the second defenseman on the ice in overtime. Beaudin was credited with one blocked shots and one hit in 20:01.