Shortly after the Blackhawks’ 2-1 win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday, Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour called it a “gross hockey game.”
Without a doubt, it wasn’t pretty. But on the home side, coach Jeremy Colliton wasn’t concerned about aesthetics.
“We need the points,” Colliton said. “They’re in a different position than us — maybe they can worry about style points. But we’re just trying to get a win.”
Get a win Colliton’s team did, in boring but ultimately effective fashion against an opponent that entered the day with the NHL’s best record.
Shot attempts were 62-32 and shots on goal 32-16, both in favor of Carolina, but the Hawks managed to lock down their defensive zone when it mattered most. In the third period, holding that 2-1 lead throughout, they conceded only seven shots on goal (and only four until the final minutes).
“We talked about a lot of stuff this morning as a team…[like] knowing, when these games are on the line, how to play as a group together,” said defenseman Connor Murphy, who played 9:56 in the third period alone. “It seemed like we were able to pack it in and understand that every puck and battle you’re in is a valuable one to the game.”
Goalie Kevin Lankinen made 31 saves and was, as in most of his wins this season, the biggest reason why the Hawks did win.
On the other end, the Hawks only generated any semblance of threatening offense for about five minutes — the first five of the second period — but made their two juiciest chances count.
Dylan Strome kept the puck on a two-on-one rush and beat Alex Nedeljkovic upstairs, then Patrick Kane pickpocketed Brett Pesce and fed Alex DeBrincat for a tap-in power-play goal.
But overall, the Hawks were credited with only 12 scoring chances, yet again tying for their lowest since March 2017 — for the second consecutive game and third time this month.
“We’re probably going to have to play better to win again against these guys [on Thursday],” Strome said.
“You’re not going to win too many games in the NHL where you only get 16 shots. We were fortunate enough tonight, but we’ve had some games this year where we’ve had a lot of shots but not much success. Hockey is a funny game like that, but we’ll take the two points.”