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Hurricanes strike early, never look back to blank Blackhawks

Dec 27, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis (24) gets the shot away against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Caleb Jones (82) and goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Antti Raanta registered his first shutout of the season, and the Carolina Hurricanes used a strong opening period to set the tone to stretch their franchise-record point streak to 15 games by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Tuesday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Martin Necas, Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook scored goals for Carolina, which won its ninth game in a row.

Raanta’s 24 saves got the job done, seeing seven shots in each the first and third periods.

Chicago fell for the ninth time in its last 10 outings. It has been a shutout victim three times during that stretch. The Blackhawks were trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since late October.

Blackhawks goalie Petr Mrazek, a former Hurricanes goalie, made 46 saves.

The Hurricanes cranked out 23 shots in the first 20 minutes, scoring twice in the opening nine minutes.

Necas’ goal came as he camped in front of the net and benefited from getting his stick on the puck, which barely trickled across the line. It was his 15th goal of the season, with Brent Burns and Paul Stastny notching assists.

Necas had just 14 goals all of last season, when he played in 78 games.

Fast’s goal came at 8:53 of the first period. After Mrazek failed to glove an initial shot, the puck bounced around and eventually went off Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy and into the net. Fast was credited with the goal, giving him three of his five goals this season in the past two games. Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei posted assists on the marker.

Martinook’s goal came shortly after the Hurricanes’ second power play of the game expired. His goal was recorded at 4:55 of the third period, with Jordan Staal notching an assist.

Stastny, playing on his 37th birthday for the Hurricanes, has compiled seven points in 11 career outings on his birthday.

Carolina improved to 11-3-1 in home games with its seventh straight win on home ice.

–Field Level Media