Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes final score: Chicago loses 3-2 in final game of 2016

The Blackhawks couldn’t get a win in their final game of the year.

Michal Kempny scored his first NHL goal, but the Chicago Blackhawks needed more in a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. A day after scratching to a win over the Nashville Predators on the road, the Blackhawks lost by the same score on the second leg of the back-to-back.

Kempny’s first career goal got the scoring going in the first period, but the Blackhawks’ lead didn’t last long. Carolina’s Elias Lindholm scored less than two minutes later to tie the game, then Lee Stempniak followed that goal up a minute later to put the Hurricanes up 2-1. Teuvo Teravainen assisted on the second goal.

The Blackhawks pushed aggressively in the second period, holding a 23-10 advantage in 5-on-5 shot attempts, but neither team scored. It wasn’t until the third period that the teams traded their final goals, with Jay McClement giving the Canes a 3-1 lead before Vinnie Hinostroza deflected a Jonathan Toews shot in to make things interesting.

That was the extent of the scoring, though, as Cam Ward finished off a strong performance to give the Hurricanes their 16th win of the season. The Blackhawks finish 2016 with a record of 23-11-5.

Turning Point

The Blackhawks seemed to be avoiding one of their dreaded poor starts when the wheels briefly came off midway through the first period. First came the Lindholm goal, then Stempniak beat Scott Darling again before Chicago could regain control. It was a brutal stretch that the Hawks ultimately were unable to overcome.

SCH 3 Stars

1. Cam Ward, Hurricanes (27 saves on 29 attempts)

2. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks (2 assists)

3. Jordan Staal, Hurricanes (1 assist, 5 shots on goal)

Play of the game

The hard work here was done by Toews, who made the inside power move that put the puck on net. Hinostroza was in the right place to have it bounce off him, though, and hey, we’ll take it.

What’s next

The Blackhawks get a weekend off before they begin 2017 with the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium. It’s supposed to go down Monday afternoon, but weather could push it back as far as Tuesday evening.