The Chicago Blackhawks were hoping to head into the All-Star break with a bang, but they’ll go into the week-long hiatus with a whimper instead as they were blown out 5-0 by the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks have lost three of their last four games heading into the break, and they were once again badly outshot early and often in the game. Riley Nash scored twice for the Hurricanes in the victory, and former Blackhawks player Kris Versteeg also had an assist as Carolina swept the season series from Chicago.
Just two minutes into the game, the Hurricanes got on the board and never looked back. Corey Crawford coughed up a rebound on a shot through traffic, and Jeff Skinner steered the skipping puck into the back of the cage to give Carolina a 1-0 lead.
After both teams failed to score on mid-period power plays, the Hurricanes continued to build momentum and they scored again. Jaccob Slavin fired a shot in toward Crawford, and Nash got a stick on it to deflect it in and put the home team ahead by two goals.
Just a few minutes later, a two-on-one rush allowed the Hurricanes to extend their lead further. Versteeg skated in on the odd-man chance, and although his pass to John-Michael Liles skipped and dipped along the ice, the defenseman was able to put a fork in the puck and slide a shot past a reeling Crawford to make it a 3-0 game after 20 minutes of play.
In the second period, the Blackhawks pulled Crawford in favor of Scott Darling, but the results were largely the same. The Hawks failed to score on a power play near the halfway mark of the frame, and another former Blackhawks player made them pay for their inability to cash in. Joakim Nordstrom was the lucky Hurricane as he grabbed a pass from Jordan Staal near the front of the net and flipped it over Darling’s shoulder and just underneath the crossbar to make it a 4-0 game.
Less than a minute later, Carolina scored yet another goal. Nash picked up his second tally of the night on the goal, as he collected a pass from Skinner and ripped a quick shot off of Darling and inside the near post to give Carolina a 5-0 edge, which they would never relinquish.
The Blackhawks will have the next week off before resuming their season next Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. They will have representation in the All-Star Game over the weekend in Nashville, as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews skate for the Central Division team in the annual contest.