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Another Love Grows Cold: Hurricanes 6, Blackhawks 3

Eight games. Zero wins. Feels like we’re askin’ for a miracle at this point for the season to turn around.

Chicago Blackhawks v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are still one of only two NHL teams without a win this season as they were routed 6-3 by the Hurricanes on Friday night in Raleigh.

The first period was a busy affair with six goals between both teams — unfortunately, four of them were scored by the Hurricanes.

The Blackhawks got on the board first for the second time this season when Jonathan Toews put in the work behind the net to get the puck to Brandon Hagel in the slot, who one-timed a shot into the net.

The Hurricanes answered less than a minute later when Tony DeAngelo scored on the rush off a beautiful pass from Vincent Trocheck.

Then an impressive Adam Gaudette backhander on the power play put the Blackhawks up 2-1 halfway through the first period.

A couple of minutes later, Jordan Staal tied the game 2-2 shortly after the Blackhawks killed off a penalty. In a nifty move, Ethan Bear slid a deflected puck to a wide-open Staal, who stuffed the puck home.

Just #17Seconds after the Staal goal, Derek Stepan put the Hurricanes up 3-2 — he was allowed to walk in uncontested from the corner to score.

Finally, Sebastian Aho set up Jesperi Kotkaniemi on a 2-on-1 rush to put the Hurricanes up 4-2 with 1:20 left in the first period.

The second period started like the first ended: with the Hurricanes dominating on the ice and scoreboard.

Aho scored the Hurricanes’ fifth goal of the night on the power play after his pass attempt hit Hagel’s skate and bounced right back to him.

The Blackhawks bad bounces would keep coming as Andrei Svechnikov’s pass attempt hit Dominik Kubalik to deflect into the net and put the Hurricanes up 6-2.

The third period unraveled a bit as both teams got sloppy and chippy. At one point, Reese Johnson dropped the gloves against DeAngelo because fighting is what was needed, I guess.

The Blackhawks got one back with 11:52 left in the game when Alex DeBrincat dangled through a crowd of Hurricanes to score.

However, that would be the lone goal of the period as the Blackhawks fell to the Hurricanes 6-3 for their eighth straight loss.

Notes

  • The Blackhawks are now tied with the 2015-16 Columbus Blue Jackets for the second longest losing streak to start the season at eight losses. The 1943-44 New York Rangers own the record with 11 losses. The Blackhawks already broke the record for longest lead drought to start a season — let’s hope they can keep themselves from breaking this record as well.
  • But hey, the Blackhawks got the first goal for the second straight game, so you’d think that would suggest their starts are getting better, right? Ah well, not so much, as they then allowed 18 shots on goal and four goals against before the first period ended.
  • The Blackhawks only mustered one goal at 5-on-5 tonight, bringing their total to seven for the season. But they’ve been outscored 29-7 at 5-on-5. Not great, Bob.
  • What was better was the Blackhawks’ ability to suppress high-danger chances. They’d been slightly better in this regard in recent games, but the quality of competition made many believe that was a bit of a mirage. Well, tonight they faced a great team and were pretty decent at limiting chances — they allowed only seven high-danger chances at 5-on-5. Granted, there was a ton of time spent on special teams, so the result is potentially skewed, but we’re trying to find positives (however minor) for the Blackhawks.
  • The problem is that despite keeping some chances down, the chances that were allowed were pretty much uncontested and what we’ve been seeing over and over. It’s absolutely exhausting watching an opposing player walk up to the net or hang out in the slot without any coverage or a rush against that results from a bad pass up the middle.
  • Obviously the Blackhawks were not good tonight, but they also were just stupidly unlucky. Both goals in the second period were after an attempted Carolina pass hit a Chicago player. It’s one thing to be playing well but unlucky, but it’s disastrous to be playing poorly and unlucky, as we’ve come to see the last handful of games.
  • Speaking of stupid, Dylan Strome being scratched again is just annoying at this point — especially for AHL players like R. Johnson. If Colliton is worried about Strome’s defense .. well, I hate to break it to him, but the whole team is crap in that regard. What Strome did do in his limited minutes so far this season is actually look like a threat offensively, which is something the Blackhawks also desperately need. He’s not going to save the season or anything, but he’s better than some of the alternatives being trotted out.
  • On to the other Johnson, Tyler was cross-checked by Trocheck in the second period and did not return for the rest of the game. Post-game, Colliton said it was unclear how long Johnson would be out, but his loss will further test the depth — or lack thereof — of the Blackhawks.
  • It’s sad that Isaak Phillips only got on the score sheet for a penalty, a hit, and a couple of shots. Hopefully he gets a few more games because he’s been excellent in Rockford.
  • DeBrincat had a great game individually. He led both teams in shot attempts (10), scoring chances (5), and high-danger chances (3). DeBrincat also was noticeably the best player in transition and continually setup his linemates with quality chances. He’s been pretty snakebitten this season so far, but his underlying performance suggests DeBrincat will likely break out at some point.
  • The only other good news from the game is that the power play continues to stay strong and in a fairly sustainable way. The penalty kill, despite allowing a goal against, has also been a bright spot. The Blackhawks need to figure out how to translate their special teams success to 5-on-5 for the team to have any hope of taking off.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Tony DeAngelo (CAR) — 1 goal, 2 assists
  2. Sebastian Aho (CHI) — 2 primary assists
  3. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 goal, game high 10 shot attempts and 5 scoring chances

What’s next

Chicago heads to St. Louis for a Saturday night game at 7 p.m. against the Blues.