CHICAGO (AP) — Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour thinks it’s going to be another tough playoff race in the Metropolitan Division this season.

So yeah, a little win streak on the road is a big deal.

Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist, and the Hurricanes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Tuesday night for the franchise’s first sweep of a regular-season trip of at least three games.

Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas also scored as Carolina earned its fourth straight victory overall. Sebastian Aho had an empty-netter, and Petr Mrazek made 30 saves.

While Carolina was holding off Chicago, the New York Islanders won at Pittsburgh to extend their points streak to 15 games. Metropolitan-leading Washington also is off to a great start.

“It’s important for us because you can’t gain any ground in our division, because everybody wins,” Brind’Amour said, addressing the significance of the perfect trip. “I don’t know what it’s going to take to get into the playoffs, but it’s going to be a crazy number.”


Chicago had won four in a row and five of six overall. The Blackhawks scored 21 times during their win streak, but they were very quiet before making a big push in the third period.

“We got going and put a scare into them, but it’s frustrating because we showed that was a winnable game if we turn it on a little bit earlier,” coach Jeremy Colliton said.

Patrick Kane helped fuel the rally with two assists on his 31st birthday, extending his point streak to 10 games. Defensemen Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy scored 1:10 apart to trim Carolina’s lead to 3-2 with 6:45 left.

The Blackhawks then got a power play when Brett Pesce was sent off for interference, but Mrazek denied Dominik Kubalik in front with 4:43 left.

Mrazek also stopped Kane on a drive to the net with 3:12 remaining. Aho then put it away when he scored his 10th goal with 18 seconds to go, matching Svechnikov for the team lead.

“Petr made some huge saves there,” Necas said.

The Hurricanes went ahead to stay in the first when they turned a Blackhawks turnover into a 2-on-0 break the other way. Necas got a pass from Niederreiter and beat Robin Lehner for his fifth of the season at 14:24.


“As soon as I gave him the puck early I knew I’m eventually going to give it back to him,” Niederreiter said. “That’s exactly what happened and he put it home.”

Svechnikov made it 2-0 when his slap shot went off the stick of Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook and past Lehner 53 seconds into the second.

Niederreiter then used a sweet backhand move to make it a three-goal lead for Carolina at 11:54 of the second. It was his first goal since Nov. 1 and his third on the year.

“It wasn’t a very good game. The first two periods weren’t very good,” Lehner said.

NOTES: Hurricanes D Dougie Hamilton was shaken up after he blocked a shot by former teammate Calvin de Haan in the first. He went to the locker room, but returned later in the period and picked up an assist on Niederreiter’s goal. “He’s a big part of what we’re doing, so it was good to see him get back,” Brind’Amour said. … Kane had scored in six straight games. … Hurricanes F Erik Haula was scratched because of a knee injury. Haula was sidelined for four games before playing in the first two games on Carolina’s trip. He has eight goals and three assists in 16 games in his first season with the Hurricanes.


Hurricanes: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Blackhawks: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.


Jay Cohen can be reached at


More AP NHL: and