Though scoring has not come easy of late for the Chicago Blackhawks, they appear to be back on track following two consecutive defeats.
Whether the momentum they've gained from that will help them end their road struggles against the Carolina Hurricanes remains to be seen.
Looking for a rare win in Raleigh, the Blackhawks try to hand the Hurricanes a third consecutive home loss Tuesday night.
Since opening with a 6-4 victory over Washington, Chicago (3-1-1) has scored nine goals while playing four straight one-goal games. Though the Blackhawks are 5 for 20 on the power play this season, they've been held to two goals in three of the last four, including back-to-back 3-2 losses to Tampa Bay and St. Louis.
"The finish, what it takes to score in this league, maybe we need to be a little greasier around the net," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Hang around, put it in the back of the net.
"We've missed the net, which is our biggest problem scoring goals right now. The second chances are the ones that go in in our league."
However, a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday and Saturday's 2-1 victory over Buffalo have reinforced the Blackhawks' belief that they can succeed when the games are tight or low-scoring. Chicago led the league with 19 victories in games decided by one goal last season.
"I think we have a lot of confidence from what we did last year in these close games to come out and win them, so hopefully we'll get better at preserving the lead a little bit," forward Patrick Kane, who has a team-leading four goals, told the Blackhawks' official website.
Chicago's 2.36 goals-against average has helped it remain competitive, but the Blackhawks have not been that at Raleigh for a while.
The Hurricanes have gone 6-0-0 with a tie at home in the series since Chicago won 4-1 on Jan. 14, 1998 in the first meeting at Carolina's arena.
Though the Hurricanes (2-2-2) have outscored the Blackhawks 12-5 during a three-game home winning streak, their two straight losses at PNC Arena have dropped them to 1-1-2 there this season.
Carolina couldn't hold a 2-1 lead against Phoenix on Sunday, but tied the game at 3 on Jeff Skinner's power-play goal near the end of the second period. However, the Coyotes scored twice in the third for a 5-3 victory.
"We just didn't do a lot of things right (Sunday)," coach Kirk Muller told the Hurricanes' official website. "We got off of our game plan and wanted to become individuals. When you do that you're not going to have success."
Skinner has two goals and two assists in three games, with both goals and one assist coming on the power play. The Hurricanes went 1 for 9 with the man advantage against the Coyotes and are 4 for 28 on the season.
Cam Ward stepped in Sunday after Anton Khudobin suffered a lower-body injury, and allowed three goals. With Khudobin's status uncertain, Ward should have a chance to improve on his 0-2-2 record and 3.32 GAA.
Ward is 3-0-1 with a 0.98 GAA, two shutouts and a .971 save percentage against the Blackhawks.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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