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Recap: Canes Hold On in Chicago to Win Fourth Straight

Canes sweep three-game road trip

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

CHICAGO - The Carolina Hurricanes staved off a late push from the Chicago Blackhawks to earn their fourth consecutive victory, 4-2.

Nino Niederreiter tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal, and for the first time in franchise history, the Canes swept a regular season road trip of at least three games.

Here are five takeaways from the Windy City.

1. A Dominant Effort …

The Hurricanes snapped a four-game losing streak in a big way last week and have since rattled off four straight wins. Head coach Rod Brind'Amour, though, had this to say on Monday: "We dissect the crap out of it. That's the nature of it. We played better in the four games we lost than the three games we won, but nobody is really going to talk about that. We weren't very good the other night but got a win. It's all about wins, but we've got to get better."

The Canes, then, were markedly better in Chicago and also got the win, exactly what the head coach wants to see - at least, in the first 50 minutes of the game.

"That was a great game," Brind'Amour said. "I thought the two periods we played as good as we probably could have."

Video: Niederreiter, Wallmark each record two points in win

The Canes limited the Blackhawks to just four shots on goal in the third period and eight in the second, a suffocating defensive effort against a team that had outscored opponents 21-10 in their four-game winning streak.

"We came out ready. They couldn't do anything," Andrei Svechnikov said. "We scored a couple of goals, which was huge for us."

2. … And Then a Scare

In the span of just 70 short seconds, the Hurricanes saw their three-goal lead minimized to just a goal after Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy ended Petr Mrazek's hopes of two shutouts against the Blackhawks in just over three weeks.

"We let up for a second," Brind'Amour said. "All of a sudden, they got some momentum. .. They got right back in the game suddenly, but we hung in there."

The Canes killed off a penalty in the last five minutes of the third and got some timely saves from Mrazek to outlast the Blackhawks' 20-shot onslaught in the final period.

"We let up just a tiny bit and almost cost us the game," Niederreiter said. "At the end of the day, we stuck together and were strong."

"They scored two quick goals, but it's good that they didn't score the third one," Martin Necas said.


3. Necas Keeps Rolling

Dogged play on the puck along the far wall near the blue line mixed with general chaos for the Blackhawks spelled a 2-on-0 rush for the Hurricanes late in the first period. Niederreiter gave to Martin Necas at the opposite blue line. Necas dished it back to Niederreiter, who then tapped it back to Necaas for the one-timer. Robin Lehner made an admirable diving attempt on the puck, getting a piece of it with his left arm and nearly making an incredible save.

Video: CAR@CHI: Necas finishes odd-man rush for opening goal

Necas said that was probably the first 2-on-0 rush he's experienced in a game since he played under-12s.

"You basically never practice this," he said. "I was hoping it would go back-and-forth. That's tougher for the goalie, and it worked."

The goal extends Necas' point streak to four games (2g, 3a) and gives the rookie nine points (3g, 6a) in his last nine games.

4. Nino Finds the Net

Nino Niederreiter was rewarded for his unselfish play on the 2-on-0 rush with a goal of his own in the second period, his first since the first of the month and the goal that turned out to be the game-winner.

Video: CAR@CHI: Niederreiter backhands in beautiful goal

With his head up, Lucas Wallmark fed a stretch pass to Niederreiter, who tipped the puck to himself off the near wall as he scooted around Erik Gustafsson. Niederreiter then put his shoulder down and went forehand-backhand for the tally.

That one felt good, eh?

"Absolutely. Most definitely," Niederreiter sighed in relief. "At the end of the day, the biggest thing is we got the win."

5. Making Svech Happen

I'm running dry on fresh adjectives to use for Andrei Svechnikov and the goals he scores.

The 19-year-old - yes, he's still a teenager! - dazzled once again with that wrist shot we've come to know and love from that spot on the ice he's come to know and love. Jaccob Slavin fired a stretch pass up the ice to Svechnikov in transition, and the sophomore phenom did the rest.

Video: CAR@CHI: Svechnikov snipes goal into the top shelf

"He's getting better and better every night. That's what's amazing to watch. He's just getting so confident out there to make plays," Brind'Amour said. "He wants to be a superstar, I think, and he's heading in the right direction."

After his overtime-winning goal in Minnesota, Svechnikov said, "I tried to close my eyes and shoot it into the net."

How about this one?

"Nah, not that time," Svechnikov laughed, saying he spotted a hole just big enough to put the puck in.

Not to be overlooked on the play was the secondary assist. Joel Edmundson brought a three-game point streak into the game, and he credited his new Bauer stick for his recent offensive flair.

Well, that stick broke in Tuesday's morning skate, and his teammates had some fun with a memorial service for the severed twig.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: With "Wind Beneath My Wings" as the soundtrack, pouring one out for Joel Edmundson's stick, which broke during the #Canes morning skate.

It wasn't all bad news, though. Edmundson had a second one of those Bauer sticks, and it appears to still have the mojo.

The point streak, now at a career best four games (2g, 4a), outlives the stick.

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The Hurricanes head home where will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

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