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Preview: Hurricanes at Blackhawks

Canes close out March schedule with 10-1-2 record in the month

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

CHICAGO - The Carolina Hurricanes are back on the road for a nationally televised two-game set against the Chicago Blackhawks.


The Match-Up

Carolina Hurricanes (23-7-3, 49 points) at Chicago Blackhawks (16-15-5, 37 points)

Tuesday, March 30, 7:30 p.m.

Watch: NBCSN

Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan, Hurricanes.com/Listen, Hurricanes app

PROJECTED LINEUP


Tracking the Storylines

Czech Him Out: Martin Necas earned NHL Second Star of the Week honors after recording seven points (4g, 3a) in three games. Necas factored in on all four goals to equal a career best with four points (2g, 2a) in the Canes' 4-3 win against Tampa Bay on Saturday. Necas ranks second on the team in assists (19) and points (28).

Doug Dynasty: With the primary assist on Necas' game-winning, power-play goal against Tampa Bay on Saturday night, Dougie Hamilton extended his point streak to 14 games (2g, 14a). The point streak is the longest in franchise history by a defenseman, the longest active in the NHL and the longest by any NHL player this season. Only 12 other defensemen in NHL history have recorded a point streak of at least 14 games.


The Opposition

Last five games: 2-3-0, 4 points
At home: 9-6-2, 20 points
CAR vs. CHI: 2-1-0
Leading scorer: Patrick Kane, 48 points (13g, 35a) in 36 games

This two-game series against the Canes marks the latter third of a six-game homestand for the Blackhawks. After sweeping a two-game set against the Florida Panthers, Chicago then dropped back-to-back games against the Nashville Predators. Alex DeBrincat scored two goals in a 1:50 span early in the third to tie the game at two on Sunday, but Roman Josi's tally in the back half of the period was the difference. The Blackhawks, who are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games, now find themselves just on the outside of the playoff cut line in the Central Division.

"They're definitely an interesting team," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after practice on Monday. "They give you some chances, but they get a lot of chances. It can be a dangerous mix."


The Last Meeting

Nino Niederreiter tallied a pair of goals, including what would be the game-winner on the power play, and his 300th career point in the Canes' 5-3 win against the Blackhawks at home on Feb. 19. The Canes saw a 2-0 lead dissipate in the second period, but three straight goals, including two on the man advantage, in the third helped power the team to victory.

Video: Niederreiter propels Hurricanes to 5-3 victory

"We played a pretty good second period. We had our chances. Just a couple unlucky breaks at the end. Roddy just came in and said, 'Keep doing it the right way,'" said Jaccob Slavin, who recorded a goal and an assist. "Our power play came up huge in the third period. That was the difference-maker tonight. It was a good team effort for pretty much the full 60 minutes."


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