CHICAGO (AP) — Even without Patrick Kane — and despite a run of sloppy plays and penalties — the Chicago Blackhawks found a way to buckle down and beat the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jonathan Toews' short-handed breakaway goal early in the third period snapped a tie, and lifted the Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory on Friday night.
Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 30th goal and Kris Versteeg ended an eight-game drought to help the Blackhawks pull out a win without Kane, the team's leading scorer who was placed on long-term injured reserve after sustaining a lower-body injury in Chicago's victory over St. Louis on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks were also without injured forwards Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell, and defenseman Michal Rozsival.
"That's one of those things, we have to learn how to play without our best players," Toews said. "We've done it without Hoss (Marian Hossa), and now Sadder and Kaner.
"It doesn't matter. If someone's nursing something, we have to find a way to fill that void."
Sharp has scored at least 30 goals four times in his career. He has reached the mark in the past three full NHL seasons.
Corey Crawford made 26 saves as defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago tightened up defensively and overcame mistakes late in the second period and early in the third that helped the Hurricanes fight back from a two goal deficit.
"That's a game we can look back on during the playoffs as being able to shut a team down in the last five minutes," Crawford said. "I don't think they got a shot in the last five minutes. That's the way you want to play."
Carolina's Alexander Semin scored his 20th and 21st goals 3:36 apart, but the Hurricanes lost to Chicago for the second time this season. The Blackhawks beat Carolina in a road shootout on Oct. 15 in their only other meeting this season.
Semin tied it off a faceoff during a 5-on-3 power play at 2:58 of the third. Eric Staal won the draw and fed Semin, who fired in a screened shot from the top of the left circle.
Semin had cut Chicago's lead to 2-1 with 37.7 seconds left in the second. He was open in the right circle, took Staal's pass from the left boards and fired a quick shot past Crawford's glove.
"We gave them some excitement to their game at the end of the second," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We took six penalties in a row, a stretch of six penalties that got them right back in the game.
"Then Johnny scored a huge goal for us, which was very timely."
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