"I know we wanted to finish hard going into the break," coach Bill
Peters said after the Hurricanes blitzed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0
Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
Center Riley Nash scored two goals, and the Hurricanes were so
effective on offense that they cooled red-hot Chicago Blackhawks
goalie Corey Crawford, who lasted only one period.
"We've played a lot of top teams pretty tough," Nash said. "I think
we know we're there. ... They've been one of the best teams for six,
seven years. We knew this was a measuring stick."
The Hurricanes put up five goals for the second game in a row,
winning for the third time in four games prior to the All-Star
Not only did the impressive performance come against the reigning
Stanley Cup champions, but it came on a rare national television
appearance for the Hurricanes.
"We don't get on national TV often," captain Eric Staal said, "but
when we do, we want to put a good foot forward."
Center Jeff Skinner, defenseman John-Michael Liles and center Joakim
Nordstrom also scored for Carolina (23-20-8), while goalie Eddie
Lack made 26 saves for the shutout.
Lack has two shutouts this season, both coming in the past four
games. He has eight shutouts in his 104-game NHL career. Lack is
2-0-0 against Chicago this season.
"I don't feel like we gave them much," Lack said.
It was a startling outing for Crawford, who was coming off a shutout
of the St. Louis Blues two days earlier. He gave up three goals on
16 shots and was replaced by Scott Darling, who saved 22 of the 24
shots he faced.
"It was pretty evident right from the beginning that we were in a
lot of trouble," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was an
ugly game across the board, and nothing positive came out of it
except it's over."
The Blackhawks (33-16-4) have been mostly stellar for the past
month, but they lost twice to the Hurricanes during that span.
"It gives everyone throughout the lineup a little confidence," Nash
Skinner knocked in a rebound for the first goal 2:12 into the game,
and that seemed to spark Carolina, which held a 16-6 edge in shots
through one period. It was the team-high 18th goal of the season for
Skinner -- after a scoring change took the goal away from center Jay
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The Hurricanes led 5-0 through two periods. Nash scored the game's
fifth goal, giving him four goals this season as he doubled his
total in the game's first 32 1/2 minutes.
Carolina's offensive output marked the team's best two-game stretch
in more than a month. For the third time in the past six games, the
Hurricanes reached the 40-shot mark.
Since a 12-game winning streak, the Blackhawks have lost three of
four games. Still, they enter the break with the best record in the
"We have a great stretch and then we come up with not enough energy
at the end of it," Quenneville said. "But we played three teams that
play well in their own buildings. Give them some credit."
NOTES: The Hurricanes claimed the only other meeting this season
with the Blackhawks, winning 2-1 on Dec. 27 at Chicago. That was the
final game before Chicago's 12-game winning streak. ... Carolina RW
Kris Versteeg, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks,
had an assist. He has 23 points in 25 home games this season. ...
Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced a three-year contract
extension through the 2020-21 season for general manager Stan
Bowman, who has been in that role since July 2009. ... Hurricanes
first-round draftee D Noah Hanifin turned 19 on Monday. ... Carolina
G Cam Ward, who sustained a concussion last week, returned to on-ice
work. He is expected to be ready when the team resumes play after
the All-Star break. ... The Tuesday game began a four-game road
stretch for the Blackhawks, but the other three are after the break,
beginning Feb. 2 at Colorado. ... Carolina's next game is Feb. 3 at
Calgary for the start of a three-game road swing. The Hurricanes
don't play at home again until Feb. 12.
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