From wire and staff reports
CHICAGO – Kris Versteeg broke a tie in the fourth round of a shootout and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Carolina 3-2 on Wednesday night to end the Hurricanes' winning streak at four games.
With Carolina on a power play and goalie Cam Ward off for an extra attacker, the Hurricanes’ Tuomo Ruutu scored with 26.5 seconds left in regulation to tie at 2, receiving the pass from forward Ray Whitney.
“At first it was a good back check from our guys,” said Ruutu. “They had the puck in front of the net. They battled and got the puck for us. And then Ray Whitney made a (heck) of a play after that.”
Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Ruutu traded goals to open the shootout. And then the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Carolina'sJussi Jokinen also scored to keep it even.
After both teams failed on their next attempts, Versteeg beat Ward to give the Blackhawks the advantage. Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet then stopped Sergei Samsonov as the Blackhawks raced to the ice to celebrate the win.
“Our shootout guys did an excellent job, too, to score two and give me a chance to come up with the save,” said Ward. “Unfortunately I just wasn’t able to in the shootout.”
With the point for the regulation tie, Carolina have as many points (78) as sixth place Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference, but the Penguins have a game in hand so Hurricanes moved up only a spot to seventh place, ahead of the Florida Panthers.
“To come back in a game like that, I don’t think anything was easy for us,” said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. “We were in the penalty box too much for our team. With the schedule that we face, we just spent too much time in the box.”
But the Hurricanes were still grateful with the point.
“It’s still better than zero,” said Ruutu.
The Hurricanes drew six penalties, two more than the Blackhawks.
Versteeg also had a tying goal in the second period.
In overtime, Ward stopped a partial break by Kane, and Huet blocked a shot by Eric Staal on a breakaway with 3 seconds to go, preserving the tie.
“He made a huge, huge save that kept us and gave us a chance to get a point,” said Maurice. “That pad save coming across the crease was fantastic.”
Ward finished with 39 saves, and Huet had 29.
Troy Brouwer gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead in the final period. On a power play, Kane skated from behind the net and slid a nice pass to Brouwer for the score.
Chicago's victory snapped a two-game losing streak and came without right winger Martin Havlat, who missed his first game of the season after sustaining a lower-leg injury Sunday in a loss to Colorado.
“I like their game,” Maurice said of the Blackhawks, who he also thought had more energy Wednesday. “They’ve got a lot of skill.”
The Hurricanes opened the scoring at 5:24 of the first period. Rod Brind'Amour was wide open on the side and took a pass across the crease from Samsonov for an easy score.
Ward turned away seven shots during two Blackhawks' power plays in the opening period and also snuffed Kane on a point-blank attempt.
Versteeg scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway in the second, using a wrist shot from the left circle to beat Ward high on the glove side, and the Blackhawks had a tie.
It was Chicago's first win over Carolina since April 3, 1999. The Hurricanes were 7-0-1 against the Blackhawks in that span and had won four straight in Chicago.
Hurricanes' D Joni Pitkanen suffered a lower body injury and did not play in the third period.