Hurricanes spoil Jeremy Colliton’s NHL coaching debut with 4-3 victory over Blackhawks

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Hurricanes spoil Jeremy Colliton’s NHL coaching debut with 4-3 victory over Blackhawks

It’s hard to turn the page when the greatest Blackhawks story ever told appears to be coming to an end.

There have been other losses from the Hawks’ dynasty years — the departures of Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa left huge holes — but neither compared with the magnitude of losing Joel Quenneville.

The beloved coach — who was fired Tuesday morning — may not have been at the United Center on Thursday night for the Hawks’ 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes, their sixth straight defeat. But Quenneville’s presence — or, more accurately, his absence — was felt throughout Jeremy Colliton‘s debut replacing the legendary “Q.”

“We’ve played with the same guy for 10 years, so obviously any type of change is going to be different,” Patrick Kane said. “But I thought for (Colliton’s) first game, he was very calm and seemed like he had a powerful message there in the first and second, just to clean up some things and have a better response.”

Curiously, Colliton’s name was not mentioned during pregame announcements, which Quenneville was typically part of.

“I honestly never thought about it,” Colliton said. “If they would’ve asked me, I would have said no. Maybe they just knew that.”

The Hawks wanted different, and they got it from the start Thursday.

First goal? Hurricanes.

First penalty? Hawks.

First period? Abysmal.

The Hawks were outshot only 16-13 in the first and had more scoring chances than the Hurricanes, but goalie Scott Darling — there’s another name from the past — denied them all.

Things only got worse to start the second. Just 80 seconds in, Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan jumped into the play, found himself alone in the slot and easily fired it past Crawford to make it 4-0.

“There were some self-inflicted wounds where we had things totally under control, no pressure, and we turned it into a situation where they could come at us and create some zone time and they ended up scoring a couple,” Colliton said. “It’s very correctable.”

Kane finally got the Hawks going with 15:26 left in the second, scoring his 12th goal of the season when he swept a rebound into an open net after an odd-man rush.

David Kampf got the crowd of 21,331 back into the game a few minutes later, tipping in a Brandon Saad shot from in front of the net over Darling’s right shoulder for his second goal of the season.

Nick Schmaltz then pulled the Hawks to within 4-3, beating Darling just 3 minutes, 33 seconds into the third for his second goal of the season. But they couldn’t get the equalizer, and Colliton’s debut ended in defeat.

“It’s pretty special, for sure,” Colliton said. “When you’re out there, you have to enjoy it a little bit. But the puck drops and it was work and it was fun.

“I enjoyed being out there. I love to compete, love to battle and I think as a group they have that too. We’ll keep getting better.”

Like it or not, the Hawks’ next chapter has arrived. And whether it will be a page turner remains to be seen.

jgreenfield@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @jcgreenx

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Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks
Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks
Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks
Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks
Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks

Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks

Hurricanes Spoil Jeremy Colliton's NHL Coaching Debut With 4-3 Victory Over Blackhawks

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