RALEIGH, N.C. Coach Joel Quenneville warned his team about this.
He knew the Carolina Hurricanes would come out fast, they would come out hungry and the Blackhawks had better be ready for it.
The Hurricanes did, and the Blackhawks werent.
Corey Crawford was strong once again but the rest of the Blackhawks were stymied in a 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday night. The Blackhawks struggled out of the gate and didnt challenge Carolina goaltender Cam Ward with enough tough shots.
Quenneville did not like the Blackhawks compete level or lack thereof.
We got dominated in all areas and we werent very good tonight, he said. They were the more determined team and that was clear from the outset. I didnt like how we played.
Tim Brent, Brandon Sutter and Jiri Tlusty scored for the Hurricanes. The Blackhawks fired 30 shots at Ward but most were of the distant and unscreened variety.
We were playing against one of the top goalies in the league. We made it fairly easy on him, shots from the oustide and not a whole lot of traffic, Patrick Sharp said. Maybe were being too cute up there. Sometimes simple is the best.
Jonathan Toews, who was stopped on a breakaway in the second period, said Ward saw everything. Hes one of those goalies thats so technically sound and he also has that coordination and quick reaction. When we had guys at the net we tried to make plays instead of shooting the puck. We have to be a better judge of when to let those shots go and get traffic there.
The Blackhawks came up empty on three power plays, although they had their best chances on that final advantage. Still, Carolina made them pay as that last one ended, with Sutter streaking out of the box for a breakaway goal and a 2-0 lead.
Crawford, meanwhile, was once again giving the Blackhawks a chance at the other end. He stopped 30 of 33 shots, getting beat on Brents double-deflected goal, Sutters breakway and Tlustys 2-on-1 score. He also stopped an Eric Staal penalty shot.
He was great again, Sharp said. The guys in front of him could be better to put some pucks on net and score some goals for him.
The Blackhawks had a lousy game. They were on a seven-game point streak entering this one, so it was bound to happen at some point. The Blackhawks werent using that as an excuse and Quenneville wasnt worried about the one-game total lack of compete. But theyd rather not repeat the same mistakes again on Saturday night.
Everyone still wants to be best they can be. (The Hurricanes) may have come off a game where they were disappointed, but tonight they were certainly better than us.
Ray Emery hasnt played since the Blackhawks third game of the season, but it looks like he may get another shot Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Emery has done his best to be prepared.
Youre just working on different things and brushing up on certain areas, said Emery, who was coming off a flu bug when he helped the Blackhawks beat Winnipeg 4-3 on Oct. 13. But when the game comes around it helps to do your homework and study that teams top players. Obviously if theres a layover between games, you have to make sure youre sharp. But you can compensate in those other areas.
Emery may also debut his new goaltending mask, which he just got Friday morning.