Blackhawks shoot for rare win at Carolina
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks have been able to grind out some close games in earning points in four of five to begin the season.
The Blackhawks will need to keep that mentality on Tuesday night when they try for their first road victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in over 15 years.
Chicago has begun defense of its Stanley Cup title by going 3-1-1 through the early going, with each of their last four games decided by a single goal. The Blackhawks won their season opener by two goals, 6-4.
The 'Hawks got goals from Patrick Kane and Ben Smith in Saturday's 2-1 win over Buffalo, with Corey Crawford making 28 saves to help his club hold on.
"I was just playing," Crawford said. "It's nice to win a tight one like that."
Chicago won consecutive games for the first time this season, but will need to reverse recent history to extend that streak tonight. The Blackhawks have not won in Carolina since Jan. 14, 1998, which marked their first road meeting with the Hurricanes since they had relocated from Hartford.
The Hurricanes are 6-0-0 with a tie in their last seven at home versus the Blackhawks and 9-1-1 with a tie in the past 12 encounters overall. They won a 3-0 decision in the last meeting on Oct. 28, 2011 in Carolina.
Cam Ward made 30 saves in the shutout and should start tonight. He was initially given Sunday off, but had to come in to relieve Anton Khudobin during the second period of a 5-3 loss.
Khudobin gave up two goals on 20 shots before exiting with a lower-body injury. He was placed on injured reserve Monday, with Jason Peters recalled from the American Hockey League to replace him on the roster.
Ward allowed three goals on 12 shots in relief on Sunday, while Eric Staal, Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner had goals in the loss, Carolina's fourth in six games to begin the season (2-2-2).
"A few guys came ready to play and battle, but we had too many passengers tonight," Carolina head coach Kirk Muller said. "We had some top guys that just didn't bring their 'A' game today."
Nathan Gerbe had an assist to extend his point streak to a career-high four straight games, with two goals and a pair of helpers over that span. Skinner has four points over his last three games.
Ward is 3-0-1 with a 0.98 goals against average and two shutouts in four career games versus the Blackhawks, while Crawford is 1-2-0 with a 2.67 GAA in three meetings with the 'Canes.
10/15 11:05:15 ET