In Jeremy Colliton’s debut, the Blackhawks can’t complete a rally against the Hurricanes
CHICAGO – Sixty hours full of surprises, shocks, twists, turns, and enough emotion to last a season found a way to fit into three hours of hockey on Thursday night.
Joel Qunneville’s firing was followed by Jeremy Colliton’s promotion to head coach of the Blackhawks, creating an upheaval not seen with the franchise in a decade. It drew criticism and anger from some in the fan base as the players adjusted to the first new leading voice in the locker room in a decade.
So it would figure that Colliton’s first contest on Thursday night would feature just as much insanity as the two days since his hiring. Unfortunately, it was a little too much for the Blackhawks to overcome.
After spotting the visiting Hurricanes a four-goal advantage in the first 22 minutes of the game, the home team rallied with three-straight goals to cut into the advantage. But the Blackhawks didn’t have the equalizer in the final 16:27 as they lost 4-3 to Carolina as their winless streak extends to six games.
It completes a true whirlwind two-and-a-half days for Colliton, who was the coach of the Rockford IceHogs early Tuesday morning and found himself leading the parent club by Thursday night.
Things didn’t start well, as the Blackhawks’ defense struggled in the first period to keep the Hurricanes out of their end. Andrei Svechnikov started off the scoring at 4:46 into the game and Jaccob Slavin added another on the power play under five minutes later.
Then a pair of Carolina players – Phil Di Giuseppe and Calvin de Haan – scored their first goals of the year, with the last coming 1:20 into the second period to make it 4-0.
Crawford kept the Hurricanes from adding onto the lead after that and the Blackhawks started a rally. Patrick Kane, who saw a season-high 27:43 of ice time, got the Blackhawks on the board with a goal 3:14 seconds after the final Carolina score to make it 4-1. David Kampf got a stick on a shot by Brandon Saad to notch his first goal of the year to make it 4-2 heading to the third period.
The interest of fans in the United Center peaked 3:33 into the third as Nick Schmaltz got the Blackhawks within a goal with his second score of the year. But that’s all the Blackhawks would get against former goaltender Scott Darling, who helped make Colliton’s first game in Chicago an unsuccessful one.
But he’ll have plenty of time to make up for it. Only the change in power in the Blackhawks’ locker room would go so fast.