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Patrick Sharp enjoys return to Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. -- PNC Arena, the third name for the home arena of the Carolina Hurricanes, has not been a hospitable building for the Chicago Blackhawks over the years.

But it has provided some special moments for Blackhawks alternate captain Patrick Sharp.

The veteran left-winger, who was the MVP in a losing effort in Team (Eric) Staal's 11-10 loss to Team (Nicklas) Lidstrom in the All-Star Game in 2011, was all about the milestones in Tuesday's 3-2 shootout victory over the Hurricanes.

Sharp scored the first goal of the game, which was the 200th of his career and his first of the season. As the final shooter, he beat Cam Ward for the only marker of the shootout. The win was the 2,500th for the storied Chicago team -- the last of the Original Six to hit the mark -- and the first in Chicago's eight tries in this building (1-6-1).

And it came two days after the birth of Sharp's second daughter, Sadie Ellen, whom he saluted by kissing his gloves and pointing in the air after his regulation goal.

"It feels nice to score and nice to score in the win," Sharp said. "My shot numbers aren't great, but it feels nice to put one in for the winner. It's pretty special knowing I have two daughters and got the game-winner in both games right afterward. More importantly, the team got the win."

Sharp said it had been a bit tough to concentrate, leaving his hours-old daughter to go skate with his teammates and then leaving for North Carolina.

"I felt a little guilty leaving Sunday and going to practice Monday with my wife in the hospital," he said. "But she was in great hands, and her mother is taking care of our first daughter and our dog in the house."

But little Sadie Ellen will get a couple of classic hockey mementos to keep.

"The milestone puck goes to my parents and the shootout puck is for my daughter," Sharp said. "The stick will be with her as well. I'll start spoiling her early. Last time I was here my brother got a free car to drive.

"Hopefully I'll get a lot more than 200, play a lot more years and score a lot more goals. But it's nice to get the first one of the season and hopefully we can start rolling now."