Hurricanes prove their mettle, top Blackhawks 3-2

Win gives Carolina 10-0-1 record in last 11 home games

James Guillory—Reuters
Carolina Hurricanes forward Jay McClement scores a third period goal — the eventual game-winner — onChicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darlingat PNC Arena. The Hurricanes won3-2.

RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes weren’t on the right end of a one-goal game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, but they made amends at home Friday. Jay McClement’s third period insurance goal wound up being the difference in Carolina’s 3-2 win over Chicago in front of 18,016 at PNC Arena.”They’re the type of team that you gotta play well against if you’re going to get the results that you want,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said of the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks. “And they make you better. We’ll take the lessons that we’re going to learn here from tonight and apply them as we go down the stretch here over the next three months and be better because of it.”McClement’s second goal of the season stretched Carolina’s lead to 3-1, a cushion they ended up needing.Carolina rookie winger Sebastian Aho outbattled reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane in the Chicago end to force the puck into McClement’s wheelhouse, and his shot from slot zipped past Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling with just over 17 minutes left.But Chicago (23-11-5) answered less than three minutes later, and it was Jonathan Toews who made it happen. The Chicago captain made an inside-out move to Carolina goalie Cam Ward’s left, and his shot bounced off Blackhawks winger Vinnie Hinostroza and into the net at 5:49 to make it a one-goal game again.The Blackhawks continued to press, and with Darling on the bench for an extra attacker in the final two minutes blitzed Carolina (16-12-7) but could not get the equalizer.”[We] had the lead in the third, actually extended it which is what we wanted to do, something we talked about between the second and third,” defenseman Ron Hainsey said. “Extended it — good for us, because that was the extra goal cushion we needed. They’re a high-powered team, we knew they would come. They throw everything at you.”The win took Carolina’s home point streak to 11 games (10-0-1), and the Hurricanes head immediately to Tampa Bay for a New Year’s Eve game against the Lightning.”They’re one of the best teams in the league,” Carolina forward Teuvo Teravainen said of his former team. “So that gave us confidence, for sure. If we can beat teams like that, that tells us that we are a good team, too. I think we’re going in the right direction. We’ve still got some things to get better.”The first period was played at a frantic pace, with both teams exchanging chances before Chicago opened the scoring. Defenseman Michal Kempny received a pass from Toews and one-timed the puck past Cam Ward (13-9-6, 27 saves) for his first career NHL goal 6:36 into the game.But Carolina kept attacking and took advantage of a couple rebounds off Darling.First, Jordan Staal drove the net on Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell and pushed a shot off Darling that Elias Lindholm banged in on the second try to tie the game at 8:32.Then Carolina got the go-ahead goal 65 seconds later when Aho redirected a Teravainen shot off Darling and a net-crashing Lee Stempniak scored off a rebound for the second straight game. Teravainen earned an assist on the play in his first game against Chicago.”Real good play on that by everyone involved. … You see the little deflection by Aho that probably threw the goaltender off,” Peters said of the three linemates. “So he’s making the save but he can’t control the rebound. Good job going hard to the net.”Notes: Elias Lindholm, who had a season-high five shots in the first period alone, left the game with an upper-body injury and did not play after the second frame. Peters did not have an update on his condition following the game. With his goal, he now has points in three straight. … Chicago lost Marcus Kruger to injury as well. After the game, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the injury was likely week to week. … McClement’s game-winning goal was the 12th of his NHL career and third with Carolina. His last was March 26, 2015, against Pittsburgh. … Only two penalties were called, one on each team. The Hurricanes and Penguins had no penalties called in their game Wednesday. … Defenseman Matt Tennyson was a healthy scratch, the first time he has been out of the lineup since his recall Nov. 12. That was also the last game Klas Dahlbeck played for Carolina until he played vs. Chicago. … Five players on the Carolina roster previously played for Chicago: Bryan Bickell (IR), Dahlbeck, Joakim Nordstrom, Viktor Stalberg and Teravainen. … Justin Faulk (injured) and Andrej Nestrasil (healthy) were Carolina’s other scratches.