RALEIGH—Joel Quenneville didn’t want to talk much about his 750th NHL coaching victory.Instead, his focus was on the important two points the Blackhawks earned in a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.The Blackhawks turned things around after losing 4-0 at Dallas in their previous game.Andrew Shaw scored twice and Corey Crawford made 43 saves for the Hawks,who have earned a point in 18 of its past 21 games.Shaw scored in the first period and with 40 seconds left in the third for the Blackhawks, who are 23-0 when leading after two periods.The Hawks played a strong first period, withstood an onslaught in the second and added an empty-net goal.Patrick Sharp said Quenneville’s intensity is one reason the Blackhawks are the team they are today, with Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and 2013.Now the Blackhawks are fighting for home ice in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs.
”It’s been an honor to play for him all these years and to be a part of a lot of those wins,” said Sharp, who had a goal and an assist. ”He’s a fun coach to play for. He’s got more intensity than the players do.”In practice, preseason games, playoff games, regular season, he’s always into it, and that filters down to our team.”
The intensity was there at the start for the Hawks,who got goals from Shaw and Sharp 1:19 apart in the first period. Shaw netted his 11th of the season, one-timing Marcus Kruger’s behind-the-net pass. Sharp then scored on a rush, redirecting Marian Hossa’s pass by Anton Khudobin.Victor Rask cut Carolina’s deficit in half early in the second period, putting in a rebound of Eric Staal’s breakaway chance.Carolina held the Blackhawks without a shot for the first 9:53 of the second and outshot the Blackhawks 17-1 overall in the period before Khudobin made a strong save on Shaw about five minutes before intermission.The Hurricanes outshot the Blackhawks 19-6 in the frame and 44-25 overall.
”It was obviously an important win,” said Quenneville, third on the career coaching victories list. ”I liked our start. What we did to them in the first they did to us in the second, and then we hung on in the third.”
He attributed the Blackhawks’ success at holding second-intermission leads to several factors, including the play of Crawford, who improved to 30-15-5.Crawford praised the defense in front of him, despite facing 44 shots.
”Guys were making sure that the lane was open for me to see pucks,” he said.
The Hurricanes fell to 15-15-6 at home.
NOTES—Jonathan Toews’ assist on Sharp’s empty-net goal gave him 500 NHL points. … Crawford improved to 5-2 against Carolina. … The Blackhawks improved to 19-7-3 against Eastern Conference teams. … The Hurricanes didn’t commit a penalty, and the Blackhawks were called for one, the Hawks killed off the power play. … Quenneville has 312 victories with the Hawks, 307 with St. Louis, and 131 with Colorado. … Khudobin made his fifth consecutive start for Carolina.