Blackhawks falter late but manage 3-2 SO win in Carolina

Hawks falter late but manage 3-2 SO win in Carolina

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

In some ways the Blackhawks gift wrapped a point for the Carolina Hurricanes but did manage to skate away with a 3-2 shootout win. The Hawks followed their usual pattern of starting out strong and struggling later in the game.

Goaltender Cam Ward always seems to give the Blackhawks fits, and was good again Tuesday night. In the end it was Corey Crawford who was a little better and saved the day with some big stops in the waning minutes. The Hawks scored twice while peppering 15 shots at Ward in the opening frame as Carolina only managed five shots on Crawford. It looked as if it would be an easy victory for the Hawks but they were not able to score a third goal.

Maybe it was combination of a lack of focus or possibly the Blackhawks couldn't keep the game simple. They were probably guilty of being too fancy, plus they missed connections on passes and couldn't convert scoring chances. The Hawks looked so much faster than Carolina early as their transition game was going strong, but as the game wore on they did slow down. To play at a quick pace crisp passing is required and highlight reel goals don't happen very often.

Individually there were strong performances from Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and the star of the night Patrick Sharp. Sharp became a father for the second time and this was his first game since the birth of his youngest daughter. As was the case after the birth of his first child, Sharp scored a game winning goal, this time it was in a shootout. Sharp also notched the first Chicago goal.

On the negative side, Michal Rozsival had a poor game. Rozsival looked to be a step slow and was guilty of taking two bad penalties. He also screened Crawford on a shot he should have blocked and that allowed Carolina to tie the score at two. On the play Crawford also lost his goal stick. Carolina did battle back and deserves credit but some breaks did go their way.

The newly formed third line of Saad, Shaw and Joakim Nordstrom was effective. Joel Quenneville keeps changing line combos and that probably won't stop until his squad plays a full 60 minutes.

The Blackhawks recorded their first road win this season and will now get ready to face the Blues on Thursday night at the United Center. The Hawks will look to avenge last week's loss in St. Louis.

I will be back on Friday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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