RALEIGH, N.C. – Patrick Sharp always seems to leave Raleigh with some souvenirs for his family.
Sharp scored in the shootout after scoring his 200th career goal, helping the Chicago Blackhawks claim the 2,500th regular-season victory in club history with a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
In one of his last visits here, he earned a car for being selected as MVP of the 2011 All-Star game and gave it to his brother.
His parents get the puck from the milestone goal. The stick and puck from the shootout are gifts for his new daughter, Sadie, who was born Sunday night.
“It’s been a good building,” Sharp quipped.
For Sharp, sure. But not for the Blackhawks—they hadn’t won at PNC Arena until this one.
The defending Stanley Cup champions sure looked well on their way to an easy win early when Sharp and Marian Hossa scored 2:22 apart in the first period. But that 2-0 lead slipped away in the third before their third straight victory came in the tiebreaker.
“I’ll take a win on the road any day of the week,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
Corey Crawford finished with 32 saves, then stopped three Carolina shooters in the shootout.
After Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews came up empty, Sharp skated in slow on Cam Ward before beating him with a slick forehand in the third round.
“I haven’t been very good in the shootout the last couple of years, and kind of looked at that over the summer and thought of possible moves—talked to Kaner a little bit,” Sharp said. “I don’t have hands like Kaner, so the slower I go, the better mine get.”
Crawford then stuffed Jeff Skinner with his pads to end it, making the Blackhawks—who have won the Cup twice since 2010—the last of the Original Six to reach the 2,500-win mark.
“With all the success we’ve had recently, it’s fun to be a part of it,” Quenneville said. “It’s been a special 5-6 years here, but when you look at the history, it’s been a pretty special place to be.”
Alexander Semin and Ron Hainsey scored during Carolina’s third-period rally.
Ward stopped 34 shots for Carolina, which wrapped up a winless three-game homestand against Western Conference teams but managed to earn two points for shootout losses during that stretch.
“I really like the way our leaders took charge tonight and kept everyone composed, and we went out and had a good second and third period, climbed back into it and tied the game,” coach Kirk Muller said.
The Blackhawks appeared well on their way to an easy victory when they took that two-goal lead into the third.
Semin started Carolina’s comeback with 16:06 left when he whipped in a rebound of Eric Staal’s shot. Hainsey then tied it with 7:27 left when his blast from the blue line went through traffic—and between defenceman Michal Roszival’s legs—on its way past Crawford.
But that was the last puck to get past the Chicago goalie.
“This was a heck of a hockey game,” Muller said. “The chances were there, we tried it and he came up with some big saves.”
The Blackhawks, who entered having scored more than two goals only once since the opener, scored twice in the opening minutes.
Sharp struck first with 12:04 left. He beat defenceman Brett Bellemore to the puck to create a breakaway chance, then beat Ward to his weak spot—high to his glove side—for his first goal.
Hossa made it 2-0 with 9:42 left, 3 seconds after a holding penalty to Staal expired. The Hurricanes whiffed on a clearing attempt and Hossa backhanded the puck past Ward’s stick from between the circles.
But that was it for the Blackhawks until the shootout, although their lead could have been even bigger had Ward not stopped a pair of shooters from point-blank range just before time expired in the second.
“That might have made things a lot more comfortable,” Quenneville said.
NOTES: Three of Carolina’s five home games have been tied at the end of regulation. … The Hurricanes are 0-2 in shootouts while Chicago improved to 1-1. … Hainsey’s goal was his first since March 12, 2011, when he was with Atlanta. … Carolina fell to 7-2-1 against defending Cup champions since the start of the 2009-10 season. … The teams met for the first time since Oct. 28, 2011.
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