The Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-game winning streak came to an end against the Carolina Hurricanes last night. The loss was just their second in regulation in the month of November.
Although the Hawks would make it interesting late in the third period, their inability to find their game the first two periods would ultimately seal their fate. Similar to the prior meeting in which Carolina won 4-0, the Hurricanes thoroughly outplayed Chicago by jumping to a 3-0 lead.
Carolina’s Martin Necas would open the scoring late in the first period, capitalizing on a 2-on-0 breakaway after Blackhawk defenseman Erik Gustafsson lost the puck at the blue line.
Necas: You take it
Nino: No, YOU take it
Necas: *takes it pic.twitter.com/bObdrISIJJ
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 20, 2019
Andrei Svechnikov increased the Hurricanes’ lead early in the second period, as defenseman Jaccob Slavin connected with Svechnikov on a stretch pass while the Hawks were changing lines. The puck was slightly deflected by Brent Seabrook and streaked between Hawks goalie Robin Lehner’s body and arm.
Carolina’s speed and transition-game were apparent all game, particularly on the Hurricanes’ third goal. Midway through the second, the Hawks would once again be victimized with a deadly stretch pass — this time, by center Lucas Wallmark, who would connect with Nino Niederreiter to give the Canes a 3-0 lead.
Patrick Kane — who increased his current point streak to 10 games — sparked the Hawks’ late rally by feeding Gustaffson in the slot, who tipped the puck past Carolina goalie Peter Mrazek.
— ✶ ✶Tony G✶ ✶ (@Certified_TonyG) November 20, 2019
The Hawks would continue to gain offense from their defenseman after Connor Murphy converted on Kane’s second primary assist of the game. The play was started with a fantastic back-check by Hawks rookie Kirby Dach, who extended his own point streak to five games with the secondary assist. Dach lifted the stick of Hurricane forward Warren Foegele, then quickly transitioned out of the Hawks’ zone, chipping the puck up the boards to Kane.
The Hawks’ comeback would ultimately fall short when Sebastian Aho scored an empty-net goal with 18 seconds remaining to give the Hurricanes a 4-2 victory. Aho was confronted immediately after scoring the goal by multiple Blackhawks — including Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews — as Aho had cross-checked Kane into the boards a few shifts prior.
While ending the Hawks’ four-game winning streak, Carolina increased their own winning streak to four. The Hawks look to begin a new winning streak against the Tampa Bay Lightning this Thursday, before two critical home-and-home series against Dallas and Colorado. Dallas is currently four points ahead of the Blackhawks for the first wild-card spot in the West and Colorado is six points ahead of the Hawks for the second playoff seed in the Central Division.