Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Jeremy Colliton's NHL head coaching debut on Thurday at the United Center:
1. First period puts Blackhawks in too big of a hole
The Blackhawks actually weren't terrible in the first period. They had 15 scoring chances at 5-on-5 to Carolina's six. But they looked a little bit lost in their own end and it was evident.
Defensive breakdowns and five giveaways in the first period put the Blackhawks in a 3-0 hole and it was ultimately too much to overcome. All of the goals against were self-inflicted wounds, which means they're correctable.
"I still thought we had some good chances there in the first," Patrick Kane said. "We had some puck possession, just a couple mistakes and they end up in the back of our net. You can look at it every which way you want, the biggest thing is it just wasn't good enough as far as the start."
2. Momentum shifts in second period
After falling behind 3-0 in the first period, the Blackhawks allowed their fourth unanswered 1:20 into the second. It appeared the game was headed for a route, with Corey Crawford snapping his stick over the goal post.
But the Blackhawks showed some fight, with goals from Kane and David Kampf 6:19 apart from each other.
"We had a push there mid-second period," Colliton said. "We started to really skate and pressure the puck and I thought we were a little bit better in our own end, which helped us to create a little more. We were skating and had some zone time and were able to generate some energy. Of course we scored, but it looked like we had some push back, which was nice to see and we carried that over into the third.
"We had our chances, we had our pressure, moments and we scored the third goal it looked like we were close to really turning the game. We had some really good chances. We just couldn’t convert and maybe we would’ve liked to generate more at the end. But overall it was a good response."
3. Leaning on Kane
Colliton wasn't afraid to ride his top horses in his coaching debut. Kane logged 27:43 of ice time, which was the second-highest of his NHL career in a regular season game. His career high is 28:48 vs. Columbus on Oct. 21, 2016.
It's worth noting Kane was part of both power play units, something that we could continue to see going forward under Colliton.
Kane also had a goal, assist and 11 shot attempts (three on goal) in the loss. His 12 goals puts him back into a tie for first in the league.
4. Corey Crawford vs. Scott Darling
For the first time in their NHL careers, the Blackhawks' 2015 Stanley Cup-winning goalie tandem went head-to-head on opposite ends of the ice. Chicago needed both of them to capture its third championship in six years and certainly would not have gotten out of the first round against the Nashville Predators that spring without Darling's heroics in relief.
Darling's first game back in Chicago came on March 11 last season, but Crawford was battling a concussion and did not suit up for it.
Darling got the better of his counterpart in this matchup, stopping 35 of 38 shots for a save percentage of .921. Crawford turned aside 30 of 34 shots for a save percentage of .882.