The Blackhawks scored twice in just over three minutes early in the second period, enough to beat the Hurricanes 2-1 on Tuesday in Chicago. Andrei Svechnikov scored Carolina’s only goal.
1. The Hurricanes dominated the opening 20 minutes, piling up shots and zone time on the Blackhawks as Carolina made the matchup look more like a father-son game than one between two NHL teams.
So when the second period started and it was still 0-0, it was easily predictable that Chicago would get on the board first. It only took 29 seconds.
A Brady Skjei pass was intercepted in the neutral zone by the Blackhawks, setting up a 2-on-1 rush. Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce blocked the passing lane, so Dylan Strome shot short side and beat Alex Nedeljkovic (14 saves) to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Less than three minutes later, Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton went to the penalty box for the second time in the game and the Blackhawks’ power play converted, with Patrick Kane stealing the puck from Pesce on a clearing attempt and setting up Alex DeBrincat for a far-side tap-in and a 2-0 lead just 4:02 into the middle frame.
“I think what happened was that we gave them two right away to start the second,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We just said, ‘Here you go, here’s two goals.’ Just very, very frustrating because it’s tough in the NHL to come back when you just give teams goals. it’s one thing to make them earn them, but we just said, ‘Here you go.’”
2. The Hurricanes finally got back Vincent Trocheck, who had not played since March 9 when Carolina won its sixth of eight straight. Brind’Amour said Trocheck was “probably our best player,” and the center extended his point streak to seven games with an assist on the Hurricanes’ long goal.
“I felt pretty good from the start,” a visibly sour Trocheck said after the game, “just needed to get a few hits, feel the game a little bit.”
Hamilton’s record-setting point streak, meanwhile, ended at 14 games when he was held off the score sheet.
3. Every year when the national broadcast schedule comes out, Hurricanes fans (and, quietly, team officials) bemoan Carolina’s one token appearance while teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia get handfuls more regardless of their expectations.
The Hurricanes had a second game, Tuesday’s game against (of course) the Blackhawks added to NBCSN slate last week, and the broadcast was a reminder that maybe it’s better to just stick with the locals.
Spoiled for years with John Forslund manning the play-by-play call, viewers of Hurricanes games probably realized quickly Tuesday that it wasn’t just Forslund who made Carolina games among the best in the NHL. Mike Maniscalco continues to find his voice as the new play-by-play lead, and his preparation shows in how well he knows the opposing teams — especially when contrasted with that of John Walton, who mispronounced Nedeljkovic at least three times alone.
Pierre McGuire is what he is — a color announcer who is more interested in what the players did in their past and where they’re from than analyzing the game at hand. Tripp Tracy never needs to come across as the smartest guy in the room — even though he is a Harvard grad, for the record — and in fact relishes being in on the joke, even when it’s purposefully him. Behind all that, though, is someone who knows the people of the league on a personal level while also being adept at breaking down plays, trends and making nuanced observations.
And Abby Labar has stepped seamlessly into Maniscalco’s old sideline reporter role while also handling pregame and intermission shows with Shane Willis.
Simply put, the NBCSN broadcast was a letdown and a downgrade from what Hurricanes viewers are accustomed to. So next year when the broadcast schedule comes out, be thankful you can circle 80 or 81 games from the local crew instead of an uneven national feed.
Number To Know
4 — Times this season the Hurricanes have held an opponent to fewer than 20 shots on goal after allowing just 16 in Tuesday’s loss. The other three times this season (14 on Jan. 14 in Detroit; 11 on Jan. 30 at home vs. Dallas; 19 on March 22 at Columbus) were all Hurricanes’ wins. Carolina has now held each of its seven Central Division opponents to 23 or fewer shots in a game at least once each this season.
They Said It
“It was kind of a gross hockey game.”
— Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour
Andrei Svechnikov, Hurricanes forward — Svechnikov had Carolina’s only goal, redirecting a sharp-angle shot by Skjei past Kevin Lankinen (31 saves) for his 10th goal of the season. He was also the Hurricanes’ best possession player at 5-on-5, carrying a 77.27% Corsi For percentage while playing on Carolina’s most effective line with Trocheck and Jesper Fast.
Martin Necas, Hurricanes forward — It was a quiet night for Necas, who a day ago was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week and was coming off a four-point game against Tampa Bay. Necas finished with just two shot attempts (none on goal) and his 17:04 of ice time was his low since March 9 — directly correlating with Trocheck’s injury.
Necas proved he can handle top minutes and produce in a high-profile role, but he was again relegated to a complementary role both the Jordan Staal and Trocheck lines playing than his with Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter.