The Chicago Blackhawks fought back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to force overtime but ultimately fell short to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in the shootout on Tuesday at the United Center. Goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped 38 of 41 shots faced, and forward Alex DeBrincat recorded two points (both primary assists) in his first game removed from COVID-19 protocol to help the Blackhawks earn a point in the standings. The Blackhawks are now 3-4-4 through the opening 11 games of the 2021 regular season.

“We dug ourselves a bit of a hole, but [I’m] really happy with how we bounced back the latter half of the [first] period,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “I thought the first two periods were a pretty even hockey game. We were right there with them.”

Quick Recap

After falling behind 2-0 early in the first period, the Blackhawks cut the Hurricanes’ lead in half on the powerplay at 17:48 with a goal from Philipp Kurashev. Kurashev’s fourth goal of the season ties teammate Pius Suter for the most among NHL rookies.

Then, with 17.4 seconds remaining in the period, Patrick Kane picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired a shot past Hurricanes’ goaltender James Reimer’s blocker to tie the score 2-2. With the goal, Kane moved into a tie with Doug Weight for sixth place on the NHL’s all-time points list among American-born players with 1,033 points. Kane also has points in three consecutive games for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks and Hurricanes remained tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, but Carolina managed to grab the lead at 6:50 of the third period with a goal from their leading scorer, Vincent Trocheck. Nino Niederreiter’s shot bounced off Connor Murphy’s skate and landed right on Trocheck’s blade to put the Canes ahead 3-2.

But the Blackhawks and their never-say-die mentality responded once again to tie the score 3-3. This time, DeBrincat connected with Dylan Strome at 13:21 of the third period for his fourth goal of 2021. Dominik Kubalik also picked up his second assist of the game on Strome’s goal.

Blackhawks OT/Shootout Woes Continue

With the game knotted at three apiece through 60 minutes, overtime was deemed necessary to determine the winner. But neither team was able to find the back of the net in the five-minute period, so the game headed into a shootout.

In the Blackhawks’ first shootout of 2021 (Jan. 27 vs. Nashville), Kubalik, Kane, and Mattias Janmark all failed to find the back of the net. Well, Tuesday’s attempt was no different. DeBrincat, Kane, and Strome all were stopped by Reimer, and the Hurricanes prevailed with a 4-3 victory.

Following Tuesday’s loss, the Blackhawks are now 0-4 in games that go to overtime. While points in the standings are always nice, the Hawks have certainly left a few out on the table early on.

“[We must start] finding a way to create a little more, taking care of the puck a little more in overtime,” Colliton said. “We’ve had some chances, no question. If they go in, you’re probably not asking me this question. But I do think we need to improve.”

Final Takeaways

Yes, the Blackhawks were outplayed by the Hurricanes on Tuesday, but that’s to be expected with this depleted roster against one of the top teams in the Central Division.

“So much size and speed and skill and depth throughout the lineup,” Colliton said on Carolina. “We knew coming in what a test it was going to be. They were missing however many guys the last few games, and when you watch the games, they looked dynamite.”

The Hawks were evenly matched with the Canes through 40 minutes before getting out-chanced 18-11 in the third period and overtime. Not bad for a team that’s currently without several key players in their lineup. The future is bright in Chicago.

Nicolas Beaudin also returned from COVID-19 protocol and had his best game as professional with the Blackhawks. Beaudin played a career-high 20:01 with one hit and one blocked shot in just his fourth game of NHL action. Colliton clarified before the game that neither DeBrincat nor Beaudin tested positive for COVID-19.

“You don’t want that list getting larger,” Colliton said. “Give credit to our team. We handled [their absences] well as far as taking care of business and focusing on our own performance.”

Kurashev, 21, scored a goal for the second consecutive game and now has five points (four goals, one assist) through his first 10 NHL games. Kurashev, Suter, and Lankinen all are in the Calder Trophy conversation through the first month of the regular season.

The Blackhawks may be struggling to win games right now, but it’s quite impressive for them to even be competing with some of the top teams from around the league. There’s a lot of fight in this bunch, which is assuredly a sign for better days to come once Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach, and company hit the ice again.

Born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Diehard Blackhawks and Cubs fan. Former high school baseball player. Studied Mass Media Communication and Psychology at the University of Missouri.