Brock McGinn’s 14th goal snapped a tie late in the second period Saturday night as the Carolina Hurricanes kept their razor-thin playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 verdict over the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre in Ontario.
Cam Ward made 34 saves in net for Carolina, which stayed within nine points of New Jersey for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining.
The Hurricanes put the game away with two goals in a 68-second span just before the midway point of the third period. Noah Hanifin made it 3-1 at 8:29 with his ninth goal, thanks to a brilliant setup by Sebastian Aho, who skated around the defense and fed Hanifin at the right post.
Jeff Skinner applied the killing blow with his 23rd marker at 9:37, taking a pass by Phillip Di Giuseppe and beating Mike Condon with a backhand.
Ottawa crawled within 4-2 when Thomas Chabot potted his seventh goal at 16:34 on a snapper, but Jordan Staal’s 17th tally into an empty net at 19:25 ended any longshot comeback hopes.
Di Giuseppe initiated scoring for Carolina at 7:34 of the first period with his fourth goal thanks to the strong forechecking of Valentin Zykov. Zykov shook the puck free from behind the net and teed up Di Giuseppe in the left circle.
He wired a wrister over the glove of Condon.
The lead lasted two minutes before Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan notched his ninth of the season. Ryan Dzingel took a shot from the left point that deflected off the shaft of Ryan’s stick, then appeared to hit the leg of a Hurricanes‘ defender before eluding Ward at 9:38.
But McGinn’s deflection at 17:19 of the second period put Carolina ahead for good. Klas Dahlbeck fired a point shot that McGinn tipped in the high slot. Condon appeared to be screened and didn’t react until it was too late. The play was challenged by Ottawa coach Guy Boucher for being offside, but replay confirmed McGinn had tagged before his teammates re-entered the zone
Condon made 19 saves for the Senators on 23 shots.