RALEIGH, N.C. -- Bates Battaglia scored three third-period goals as the Carolina Hurricanes won their third straight, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 Wednesday night.
The Hurricanes, who matched their season-high winning streak, improved to .500 for the first time since Jan. 9 and remained in contention for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Boris Mironov's shot from the right circle beat Arturs Irbe high on his glove side 45 seconds into the third period to tie it 1-1.
But Battaglia scored his 12th goal 1:43 later as he shook off defenseman Anders Eriksson in the corner, skated to the front of the net and beat Jocelyn Thibault from point-blank range.
Battaglia, a Chicago native, iced it with 2:48 left with a 30-foot slap shot and added an empty-netter with 7.7 seconds remaining for his first hat trick of his three-year career.
Carolina scored five goals in three straight games for the first time since the 1993-94 season on its West Coast road trip, but found few scoring chances against the last-place team in the Central Division until the third period.
After a scoreless first, Glen Wesley joined the rush and was able to beat Thibault low on the glove side from the slot for his sixth. Ron Francis received one of the assists to give him a five-game point streak.
Carolina's defense scored an NHL-low 15 goals last season, but Wesley's was the unit's 32nd this season.
Irbe made 17 saves to earn the win for Carolina.
1st 2nd 3rd TOTALChicago 0 0 1 1Carolina 0 1 3 4First Period: Scoring: None. Penalties: Roberts, Car (elbowing), 8:13; Dean, Chi (high sticking), 16:35.Second Period: Scoring: 1, Carolina, Wesley 6 (Francis, Hill), 4:05. Penalties: Malik, Car (Obstr holding), 15:57.Third Period: Scoring: 2, Chicago, Mironov 6 (Zhamnov), 0:45. 3, Carolina, Battaglia 12 (Kovalenko, Karpa), 2:28. 4, Carolina, Battaglia 13 (Kron, Malik), 17:12. 5, Carolina, Battaglia 14 (Brind'amour), 19:53. Penalties: Olczyk, Chi (hooking), 18:53.SHOTS ON GOALChicago 5 6 7 --18Carolina 10 10 12 --32
Power-play Conversions: Chi - 0 of 2, Car - 0 of 2. Goalies: Chicago, Thibault (32 shots, 28 saves; record: 17-24-5). Carolina, Irbe (18, 17; record: 26-22-8). A:10,332. Referee: Larue. Linesmen: Broseker, Sericolo.
CAROLINA HEAD COACH PAUL MAURICE:
On the game:
“I was very uneasy about this game going into it tonight based on the fact that Chicago had scored 21 more even strengthed goals than we had five-on-five goals. I read the paper and I know the situation we’re in a lot was made of the fact that their record was what it was. I really don’t and I still don’t think it reflects their team. They had Gilmour and Daze out tonight. The Nylander line had been playing very well. So I was very uncomfortable about the game tonight because I have a lot more respect for that team than I think that they get. They have a bad record, they don’t have a bad team.”
“But I was very pleased with the way we played. I thought it was a continuation of the last game especially… Really very tight defensively. We’re playing against a team that’s scored some goals, they’re going to get some chances, but I didn’t think they had that many. Before we had some great chances, that’s where that tightness in your gut comes from because the further you go into this and when they come down and beat you and tie the game up in the third, you think, boy, your team can go one of two directions. They really brought out their best hockey I thought. Then you’re very concerned because you’re getting more good chances to score and really get it going but it stays even.
On the Battaglia line:
“I thought Battaglia’s goals were good for them, good for that line. They were very very good in San Jose and they were very good here tonight I thought. Especially as the game went on they played their game, they used their speed. It’s nice to see Battaglia finally take a shot off the rush. Instead of throwing it in behind, just pound it. The abuse that poor man would have taken had he not scored that third. Good for him. He’s a Chicago kid, he scored three against his hometown team.”
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS COACH LORNE MOLLEKEN:
On Battaglia’s first goal:
“I’m not sure what happened in the corner but I think Erikkson got beat in a one-on-one situation. Atcheynum comes down to the guy in front and then Bicanek backs off. The result was getting beat and not reading the situation and not taking away the dangerous guys.”
On Carolina’s third and first goals:
“That situation, the third goal, we didn’t get the puck deep, and we changed. And then coming into our end, on the first goal, we don’t read the situation properly and Wesley walks right into the slot. It was a situation where we just have to get better.”
On the game:
“I thought we had some opportunities again and the puck didn’t go in. But tonight I don’t question the work ethic. I thought the guys worked hard tonight. They capitalized and we didn’t. Their three goals were situations that were unforced. As a team we need to get better in those situations.”