RALEIGH — Saturday’s game between the Hurricanes and Blackhawks was supposed to be about Carolina’s five players playing against their old team.
Instead, it was the guy who came back to Chicago who ended up the hero.
Brandon Saad, reacquired this offseason from Columbus, snuck a shot under former teammate and Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling to give the Blackhawks a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win Saturday at PNC Arena.
Carolina entered the third period up two goals, but Chicago chipped away with rookie Alex DeBrincat getting his second goal of the night at 3:16 and defenseman Gustav Forsling’s seeing-eye point wrister finding the net with less than nine minutes left to tie it.
“Whenever you go into the third period, especially at home, with a two-goal lead, you oughta be able to close those ones out,” Hurricanes center Derek Ryan, who finished with two assists, said. “I thought they got a couple bounces, but at the same time we have to make sure we’re locking it up defensively and we didn’t do that.”
Brock McGinn scored in each of the first two periods for Carolina, his third straight game with a goal, to help Carolina to a 3-1 lead.
Shortly after leveling Chicago’s Jan Rutta at center ice, McGinn scored the game’s first goal and gave Carolina a fast start.
Justin Williams threw the puck toward the Blackhawks net, Ryan whacked it and McGinn batted it in for a 1-0 lead at 6:53.
Carolina’s second goal came just over four minutes later when Jeff Skinner snapped a four-game point drought. After nearly trickling a puck through Chicago goalie Anton Forsberg’s pads seconds earlier, Skinner shot from the right boards and snuck it inside the far post for a 2-0 lead.
Chicago finally broke through in the second. A hobbled McGinn, who had blocked a shot previously in the shift, cleared the puck down the ice. But the Blackhawks came back with speed, and captain Jonathan Toews zipped a pass toward the far post that DeBrincat — who beat Jaccob Slavin to the far post — chipped in to cut the lead in half.
McGinn got his fifth of the year midway through the game when he took a Ryan flip pass and raced down the ice, roofing a highlight-reel backhand past Forsberg to pad Carolina’s lead to two, 3-1.
But the Hurricanes (6-5-4), playing for the second straight night after winning in Columbus Friday, let the two-goal lead slip away in the third.
After DeBrincat’s goal, the Hurricanes had a few chances to re-establish a two-goal lead. Most notable was Skinner’s chance at the side of the net, which went high and left him staring at the roof.
“It’s disappointing when it ends up sort of costing you,” Skinner said of his missed opportunities. “The one, I think, in the third just kind of rolled up on my stick. I probably could’ve settled it down, but sometimes you just try to get those off as quick as you can.
“So just keep working for those chances,” he added. “I think the positive is you’re getting them, but you’ve got to bear down, especially late in the game.”
And then there’s the Hurricanes power play, which was again held without a goal on three opportunities. The team has scored just once in the last 10 games, going 1 for 26, with the man advantage.
“You know what, tough segment for the power play — five games, didn’t score,” coach Bill Peters said.
Peters added that he expects to discuss making changes to the power play.
“I think we have to make some personnel changes myself, that would be my opinion, my two cents,” Peters said. “I’ll have to to talk to Roddy [Brind’Amour], see what he wants to do.”
It was Chicago (8-7-2) that had the first chance to break the ice in the first two minutes when Saad was awarded a penalty shot after Noah Hanifin was called for slashing on the former’s shorthanded breakaway.
However Darling, playing his first game against his former team, stopped Saad to keep it scoreless.
Notes: Slavin was one the ice for all three of Chicago’s regulation goals and finished minus-3 on the night, the first time that’s happened in his career. … DeBrincat had three points for Chicago. … Carolina win 34 of 52 faceoffs. … Darling stopped 26 of 30 shots, while Forsberg made 35 saves for his second career win and first as a starter.