Home Sports 4 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-0 loss to Carolina Hurricanes: ‘That’s probably the fastest, most pressured team in the league’

4 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-0 loss to Carolina Hurricanes: ‘That’s probably the fastest, most pressured team in the league’

by staff

Sometimes a team is just better.

Sure, several have looked better on paper than the Chicago Blackhawks, but that perceived advantage has looked paper-thin.


The Carolina Hurricanes brought a different level and the Hawks weren’t up to the task in Monday night’s 3-0 loss at the United Center.

The Hawks did have some things working for them. They drew four penalties, Sam Lafferty’s line was attacking and Jonathan Toews was king of the dot (18-of-22 for 81.8%) — but they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard.


“The guys worked hard right to the end,” coach Luke Richardson said. “That’s probably the fastest, most pressured team in the league.”

That, and Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov looked untouchable.

“There were some rebounds and we did have some Grade-A looks (but) their goalie made unbelievable saves,” defenseman Connor Murphy said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get enough of them and we gave up a few too many.”

Carolina is fourth in the Eastern Conference for a reason.

“They backcheck really, really hard,” Toews said. “I think for us as forwards, there’s little things we can take and apply to our game.”

Richardson agreed /that the/ Hawks could take some pointers.

“They’re very hard on sticks in those red zones, getting pucks in, pucks out. When you trust it, that’s why they can really blow our zone and put pressure on our D. They know they’re going to make that play.”

Richardson said the Hawks possess the speed to emulate that, but “we have to make sure we take the first step: We have to get better at the red zones and clearing on our first attempts and then maybe we can start maybe blowing one guy out and trying a long-bomb pass once in a while.”


Here are four takeaways.

Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov makes an arm-save on a shot by the Blackhawks' Max Domi during the second period on Nov. 14, 2022.

Max Domi hit the goal post during a second-period power play. Reese Johnson had a short-handed breakaway 5 1/2 minutes later.

Neither were quite on target — or good enough to get by Kochetkov — and that was a theme Monday night for special teams.

“I think the power play and the penalty kill were excellent tonight,” Richardson said. “We just couldn’t get it across the line. Even Domi’s shot goes off the post or crossbar and out. Just wasn’t bouncing for us. We needed to push a little harder.”

The Canes’ penalty kill set up a wall at the blue line and dared the Hawks to try and break through, and too often the Hawks couldn’t. After going 0-for-4 the Hawks power play is middle of the pack (15th at 21.7%).


Murphy said, ““Our special teams actually did a good job, so it was frustrating.

“You think with us doing a good job on the kill and on the power play, we’d get a little more momentum going. But they did a better job 5-on-5 against us.”

Hurricanes' Jordan Martinook celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period against the Blackhawks on Nov. 14, 2022.

Richardson talked about getting off to a fast start on the ice, but he had to make a quick decision from the bench on a controversial call.

The Canes’ Jordan Martinook lifted his stick shoulder-high to deflect in Brent Burns’ shot for the game’s opening goal. Several Hawks players, including goalie Petr Mrázek, raised their hands to protest the call.

“It was close and kind of looks like it was on an upward angle. It was pretty much inconclusive,” Richardson said. “We just killed off a penalty and we couldn’t afford it in a (1-0) game to take a chance on that.”

Richardson also didn’t believe the high-goal stick could be challenged.


According to NHL Rule 38.10, however, a goal can be overturned if it stems from a missed stoppage — such as a hand pass, a puck out of bounds or “high-sticking the puck” — in the offensive zone. In other words, an infraction that would’ve prompted referees to stop play had they caught it. But a “missed penalty,” such as high-sticking another player, isn’t reviewable.

Perhaps Richardson was made aware another wrinkle in the rule.

“It has to be a high stick and then the goal comes in after it, on a different play,” he said. “We checked, and they thought it was something that was too close to call and it’s an unchallengeable call.”

Richardson conceded the goal was a “little bit” of a momentum killer, but the Hawks could’ve negated it by capitalizing on a power-play opportunity less than two minutes later.

“If you get a goal on the power play and maybe that high-stick goal doesn’t count or go in, we come out of the first period looking pretty good,” he said.

Richardson has gone back and forth between Alec Regula and Filip Roos, and both have had their highlights and hiccups.


Caleb Jones’ highs and lows have been a bit higher and lower, but Monday night was staunchly in the “low” column. He made back-to-back mistakes that resulted in the Hurricanes’ third goal.

Jones stood behind the net and attempted to thread a breakout pass between two Canes defenders. Jesper Fast knocked it down and served it up to Andrei Svechnikov, and Svechnikov whipped it by goalie Mrázek, who essentially was screened by Jones as he rushed in to defend.

“When you turn over the puck like that, you can say (fast is) lucky, but guys are skilled now in this league and they can do that,” Richardson said. “You’ve just got to make sure you pick a better option coming out of that set breakout.”

Jones has had a few other turnovers in Hawks’ end recently, and he’s also had this habit of letting pucks get by him at the blue line in the offensive zone. He seems like he would be a candidate for a healthy scratch, but Richardson sounded firmly in the defenseman’s corner after the game.

With brother Seth Jones out with a thumb injury, Caleb has been cast onto the top power play


Caleb has averaged nearly 19 minutes ice time in the six games since Seth’s injury and played a season-high 21 minutes, 22 seconds Monday night opposite new defensive partner Jack Johnson.

Richardson said of Caleb, “He’s playing a lot and he’s got a lot of responsibility right now on his plate. I think he’s doing a pretty good job on the power play. Minutes, it’s just a big step and a big extra load on his plate.”

Caleb is tied with Domi for second in team assists. The Hawks don’t have a bunch of other options for offensive defensemen until Seth come back. So Richardson will be patient — though patience has to have its limits.

“He’s got to keep things simple,” Richardson said of Caleb. “He’s a good skater. He can get himself out of trouble, so the key is just to make things simple for himself and stay out of those troublesome times.”

Tyler Johnson limps off the ice to the locker room during the third period against the Panthers on Oct. 25, 2022.
Chicago Tribune Sports

Chicago Tribune Sports


A daily sports newsletter delivered to your inbox for your morning commute.

The forward group could use all the help it could get. The Hawks have been shut out twice in the last four games and haven’t had a five-on-five goal from a forward since Oct. 30.

Tyler Johnson had two goals and four assists in six games before he was placed on injured reserve with a right ankle injury. Jason Dickinson could return soon from an illness last week that caused him to lose weight, but who knows with Johnson?


Johnson participated in morning skate without a noncontact jersey Monday, but he couldn’t estimate when he might return.

“If you asked me a couple of weeks ago, it would have been way different than what I’m thinking now,” he said.

Richardson has been super cautious with injuries, as evidenced by the extra time he gave Mrázek, even though the goalie felt ready.

“He said he felt really good, but we’ve got to get him into a few practices and he has to strengthen that ankle a little more,” Richardson said of Johnson.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment