Chicago Blackhawks (43-22-6) at Carolina Hurricanes (26-35-10)
|Date & Time||Monday March 23, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes +141 / Chicago Blackhawks -156 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Carolina Hurricanes are a club that has had their struggles this season, but since they’ve brought up some of their youth there isn’t anyone who can criticize their effort. Carolina hosted the New York Rangers on Saturday night and ultimately fell short in a shootout, but it wasn’t because they didn’t try. Facing one of the better teams in the National Hockey League the Hurricanes jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on Elias Lindholm’s 16th goal of the season. New York would tie the game and then take the lead in the second period, but this young and hungry group of Hurricanes wouldn’t quit. Carolina completely dominated the final 20 minutes, out shooting New York 17-6 in the frame and scoring the only goal of the period to send the game into overtime. Ryan Murphy was credited with his second goal of the season coming on the power play, but Carolina couldn’t carry over their momentum into the extra session. The Hurricanes allowed only two shots on goal in overtime but didn’t generate any themselves. Lindholm, Riley Nash, and Jeff Skinner all came up with some creative moves in the shootout, but none of them could solve Cam Talbot. Mats Zuccarello scored the only goal for either team as the Rangers handed the Hurricanes a 3-2 shootout loss. Anton Khudobin played a strong game in goal for the Hurricanes, stopping 27 shots in the loss. Now the Hurricanes will continue this five game home stand when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night. Pittsburgh, New Jersey, and Boston also come to Raleigh before the Hurricanes head back out on the road.
Chicago is looking to finish the season strong as they head toward the post season, but they’ll want to forget all about Saturday night’s effort in Dallas against the Stars. For a Blackhawks club that had won four straight games heading into the match, the outcome almost seemed predictable against a Dallas club that has been playing some pretty good hockey of late. Special teams made a huge difference in this one as the normally reliable Chicago penalty kill allowed Dallas to go 2-for-3 with the man advantage on the night. The Blackhawks were 0-for-2 on the power play themselves, and struggled to genereate much against Kari Lehtonen. Chicago trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes of play and never seemed to find a way to make a play to get themselves back into the hockey game. Corey Crawford took the loss in this one after allowing four goals on 29 shots in the 4-0 shutout. The Blackhawks are still playing for home ice but right now their focus is on trying to learn how to play in these games where their offense really struggles. Without Patrick Kane in the lineup the Blackhawks are really having a difficult time getting consistent scoring out of much of their forward group. A match against a Hurricanes club that struggles in their own end might be exactly what this group needs in order to turn that around.
If Carolina comes out and plays the same way they did against the Rangers on Saturday night then this should be a pretty entertaining hockey game. This is a game that typically would be hard for Chicago to get up for, but after a loss like the one they had on Saturday night in Dallas most would expect a much better effort.