Strome, DeBrincat score, Blackhawks cool off Canes 2-1

Carolina Hurricanes

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 02: Alex DeBrincat #12 of the Chicago Blackhawks is pressured by Brady Skjei #76 of the Carolina Hurricanes as he advances the puck at the United Center on February 02, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat scored in a 3:33 span early in the second period, Kevin Lankinen made 31 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Chicago ended Carolina’s three-game winning streak and handed the Hurricanes their second regulation loss in 15 games (11-2-2) despite being outshot 32-16.

Andrei Svechnikov scored for Carolina, which missed a chance to leapfrog both Tampa Bay and Florida into first place in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks snapped a two-game slide and won for just the third time in nine games (3-6-0) as they battle for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Central.

Strome connected after missing Sunday’s contest for the birth of his first child, Weslie Margaret. DeBrincat’s team leading 19th goal was his third in two games.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 14 saves.

The teams meet again Thursday in Chicago.

The Hurricanes dominated the scoreless first period, outshooting the Blackhawks 9-1 in the opening six minutes and 13-5 in the frame.

Chicago struck quickly in the second.

Strome opened the scoring on the first shot of the second, firing in his sixth goal from the right circle just 29 seconds in. His shot glanced off Nedeljkovic’s upper left arm and found the net.

DeBrincat’s quick power-play goal at 4:02 made it 2-0. Patrick Kane stripped the puck from Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce in the slot, and fed DeBrincat at the right edge of the crease for a tap-in.

The Hurricanes cut it to 2-1, finally connecting in their 24th shot with 4:19 left in the period after winning a faceoff in the Chicago zone. Brady Skjei’s shot from a sharp angle on the left side appeared to glance off Svechnikov, who was cutting across the crease.

The Blackhawks and Lankinen held on in the final minutes after Carolina pulled Nedeljkovic for an extra attacker

COACHING CONTRACT

Despite his team’s success, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour isn’t sure about his future. The 50-year-old is in the third year of a three-year contract that reportedly pays $600,000 a year — among the lowest salaries for any NHL coach.

Late last month, Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon told the Raleigh News & Observer that he expected to work out a new deal for Brind’Amour and that: “I’ve got to pay him more.”

Before Tuesday’s game, Brind’Amour said he had nothing new to report on contract talks.

“For me, it’s not a distraction,” said Brind’Amour, who played 20 years in the NHL. “I’m going to coach my team as best I can no matter what. Hopefully, we’ll get something done.”

Asked about his long-term plans, Brind’Amour said, “I don’t know. I’ll be honest. I love this group and I love doing it. There’s a lot of stress involved.”

HARD ADDITION

The Blackhawk signed free agency F Mike Hardman to a two-year entry-level contract and assigned him to the team’s taxi squad. The 22-year-old just completed his sophomore season at Boston College.

Game notes
Caroilina D Dougie Hamilton’s point streak ended at 14 games. It was the longest in the NHL this season. … D Wyatt Kalynuk played in his second NHL game, while rookie D Nicolas Beaudin sat out. Both Beaudin, 21, and Kalynuk, 23, are among the Blackhawks’ top prospects. … Carolina C Vincent Trocheck returned after missing eight games with an upper body injury. … LW Teuvo Teravainen (concussion) missed his 11th game.

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