The Chicago Blackhawks won for the second straight night by beating the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1, on Friday at the United Center. It wraps up a successful back-to-back against Eastern Conference foes for the team.
Unlike the thrilling 4-3 win over the Sabres on Thursday, this wasn’t a dominant effort by the Hawks. A night after crushing Buffalo in shot attempts and shots on goal, the Hurricanes held the advantages in those areas. By the end of the game, Carolina had 24 more shots (67-43) and 16 more shots on goal (40-24).
So you can put two and two together to realize that Scott Darling was the biggest reason the Blackhawks won. The goaltender was stellar all evening, saving 39 of 40 shots that went his way. The Hurricanes went scoreless on three power plays, too, as Darling played his butt off.
On the offensive end, Jonathan Toews put the Blackhawks up 1-0 midway through the first period with his second 5-on-5 goal of the season. He entered Friday shooting just 1-of-59 (1.3 percent) during 5-on-5 play, so it’s fair to say that the captain was due. Going forward, we can probably expect Toews to start scoring at a higher clip than the underwhelming pace he’s so far.
Artemi Panarin added another goal in the second period to put the team up 2-0, then Carolina’s Victor Rask made things interesting with a goal just five seconds before the end of the second period. The Hawks hung on from there, though, to improve to 25-12-5 this season.
There wasn’t a truly game-changing play in this game, but you knew Darling was going to be in for one of those great nights after making stops like this early on. The Hurricanes were the ones searching for a turning point, and Darling made sure it never came.
SCH 3 Stars
- Scott Darling, Blackhawks (39 saves on 40 attempts)
- Artemi Panarin, Blackhawks (1 goal, 4 shots on goal)
- Victor Rask, Hurricanes (1 goal, 3 shots on goal)
Play of the game
Some beautiful passing to give the Blackhawks a lead Scott Darling wouldn’t relinquish.
The Blackhawks get Saturday off before they continue the home stand against the Predators on Sunday. After one last game at the United Center against the Red Wings on Tuesday, it’s back on the road to face the Capitals next Friday.