CHICAGO – Jeremy Colliton's NHL coaching debut got off to a shaky start before the Blackhawks began skating with confidence and made it respectable.
Goals by Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin, Phillip Di Giuseppe and Calvin de Haan gave Carolina a four-goal lead early in the second period, and the Hurricanes held on for a 4-3 victory over the Hawks on Thursday night.
Colliton became the 38th coach of the Hawks on Tuesday after Joel Quenneville was fired after 10 seasons with the team. Quenneville ranks second in NHL history with 890 regular-season victories.
Despite the coaching switch, the Hawks suffered through a sluggish, mistake-filled opening 25 minutes. The Hawks' winless streak reached six straight (0-5-1) after Colliton was promoted from the franchise's American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford to become the NHL's youngest head coach at 33
"We looked like we were a bit tentative, especially in our own end, early on," Colliton said. "I think there were some self-inflicted wounds.
"We had things totally under control – no pressure – and we turned it into a situation where they can come at us. These are things we can fix very quickly."
Patrick Kane, David Kampf and Nick Schmaltz scored for the Hawks after they fell behind, 4-0, in a quiet United Center, but the team's comeback came up just short.
Schmaltz said he and his teammates were just thinking too much with a new coach behind the bench. So with the Hawks trailing, 3-0, after one period, Colliton's message was simple.
"He just said, 'Don't think out there. Just play hockey. We know how to play hockey. We'll teach as we go,'" Schmaltz said.
The Hawks' Corey Crawford stopped 30 shots as he faced many tough chances.
Lucas Wallmark had two assists for the Hurricanes, who snapped a five-game slide in the finale of a four-game road trip.
Scott Darling, traded to Carolina by the Hawks in April 2017, made 35 saves in his third start this season.
"I almost blew it there, but [having] four goals is nice," Darling said. "It's great to score the first goal and not be chasing the game.
"They've got tons of skill over there. They're making plays, flying guys in the neutral zone, multiple guys."
Darling and the Hurricanes held on for a badly needed win.
"It wasn't pretty at times, but it was also nice to play with the lead and have that four-goal cushion," de Haan said. "We grinded it out and ended up getting the two points."
Carolina led, 3-0, after the first period.
Svechnikov opened the scoring 4:46 in, cutting across the crease and using a long reach to tuck in a loose rebound.
Slavin scored his second goal in two games to make it 2-0 during a power play at 9:09. He poked in a loose puck from the crease after Crawford stopped two point-blank stuff-in attempts by Justin Williams.
Di Giuseppe increased it to 3-0 with 4:07 left in the first on a shot from the left circle after the Blackhawks failed clear their zone.
Crawford chopped his stick on the crossbar and broke it after de Haan scored from just outside the crease 1:20 into the second to extend Carolina's lead to 4-0. DeHaan, a defenseman, was left open after he pinched in and took a nifty feed from Sebastian Aho from behind the net.
Kane cut it to 4-1 just over three minutes later, slapping in a puck that had been fired by Artem Anisimov from the slot and was trickling toward the goal line.
Kampf was credited with a deflection at 10:53 of the period that cut it to 4-2. Brandon Saad powered from behind the net to high in the slot, then turned and fired on net to create the chance.
Schmaltz narrowed it to 4-3 at 3:33 of the third when he carried the puck into the Carolina zone and beat Darling from the left circle.
Hawks center Marcus Kruger suffered a left leg injury in the second period and didn't return. ... Hawks captain Jonathan Toews was clipped by a high stick in the final minutes and needed stitches but should be ready to play Saturday, Colliton said. ... Petr Mrazek, the Hurricanes' No. 1 goalie so far this season, missed his third game with a lower-body injury. ... Saad played with a plastic full-face shield after taking a puck in the mouth in practice Wednesday, then undergoing dental work and getting about 15 stiches. ... Di Giuseppe had been recalled from Charlotte of the AHL on Wednesday and played in his third game this season. ... Hawks forward Chris Kunitz, defenseman Duncan Keith and goalies Crawford and Cam Ward are older than Colliton. Defenseman Brent Seabrook, also 33, is three months younger. ... De Haan played with Colliton for a year at Bridgeport, Connecticut, of the AHL. "He was my captain. He was a good leader. I could see why he's coaching an NHL team," de Haan said.
Hurricanes: Host Detroit on Saturday.
Hawks: At Philadelphia on Saturday.