Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes final score 2015: Eddie Lack leads Carolina past Chicago, 2-1
Chicago suffers its first loss in first post-Christmas game since 2005.
Brent Seabrook scored a goal in his 800th career NHL game and Marian Hossa returned to action as the Chicago Blackhawks fell 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night at United Center.
Hossa returned to action for the Blackhawks after missing the last two games before the break with an upper-body injury. Hossa's return saw forward Andrew Shaw, who was filling in on the top line, return to right wing on the third line and Corey Crawford got the start in net for the Blackhawks. Former Blackhawks Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom returned to Chicago for the first time since the Cup final.
The first period featured a slow start by both teams with the Hawks in-and-out of the offensive zone, picking up several rebounds and creating chances all of which were stopped by Canes netminder Eddie Lack. Shifts were short for the Hawks as they worked to get their legs under them after a four day break. Halfway through the first, the game remained scoreless despite strong play by the Hawks' fourth line which turned in several solid shifts in the period, but were turned away with the Hawks looking for more sustained pressure in the zone. SOG were 11-6 in favor of the Hurricanes with five minutes remaining in the period and no player on the Hawks top three lines or top two defensive pairings owned a shot on goal at that point. After a slow start, the action picked up as the period wound down ending in a scoreless tie, with the Canes holding the edge in SOG 12-11.
The pace accelerated a bit at the outset of the second period and though the Hawks created some quality chances, all were ably handled by Lack and the score remained tied midway through the period. A great shift by the top line drew a penalty at 7:57 and the Hawks went to their first power play of the game. Much of the two minute man advantage was spent scrambling after cleared pucks and the Hawks came up empty. At 14:30 of the period, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Joakim Nordstrom were both sent to box, for hooking and embellishment, respectively, and 4-on-4 hockey ensued.
Nothing doing for either team and play continued with the Canes coming close on a 3-on-2 a minute later. As the period drew to a close a quality chance by Bryan Bickell swiftly turned into a quick flight down the ice by Justin Faulk, who sent one between the legs of Crawford with 18.2 seconds remaining for a 1-0 lead at the intermission.
After a low energy two periods by the Hawks, the third period began with more of the same except for Crawford who was stellar in net, making three huge saves in the first two minutes of the period to keep the deficit at one. Coach Q began juggling his lines in hopes of creating a spark, but at 4:48 in the period, Victor Rask put one by Crawford off a faceoff win and the Canes went up 2-0.
As the period reached the midway point, the Hawks were scrambling for some offense and playing with five defensemen after Rob Scuderi left the game, likely bothered by the 25 stitches needed to repair a cut near his mouth in the Hawks' loss to the Stars on Dec. 22. The Hawks created a couple of quality shots both of which were sucked up by Lack, who was perfect with 28 saves with six minutes left to play in the game. After a hook by Nordstrom and a high stick by Shaw, Crawford pulled his goalie and the Hawks went to 5-on-4 with 2:48 left to play.
Seabrook scored with three seconds left and the Hawks avoided a second consecutive shutout.
The Blackhawks will visit the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night and the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday to finish out the 2015 portion of their schedule.