RALEIGH, N.C.- Nino Niederreiter was feeling it as the Carolina Hurricanes posted a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at PNC Arena on Friday.
Niedereitter’s two goals and assist got him to the 300 point plateau of his NHL career, while goals from Vincent Trocheck, Martin Necas and Jaccob Slavin helped lead the Hurricanes to their fourth win in five games
Goaltender James Reimer got the win for the Hurricanes making 26 saves and improving his season record to 8-1.
Patrick Kane, Ian Mitchell and Carl Soderberg scored singles for the Blackhawks in the losing effort in front of goalie Kevin Lankinen (33 saves).
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With the Canes wearing reverse retro Hartford Whalers uniforms, Niederreiter opened the game’s scoring with a top corner snipe past Lankinen at the 15:52 mark of the opening period.
The Whalers’ Brass Bonanza goal song rang throughout the building as part of the night’s journey down memory lane.
“Glad to find that jam again – the way I am doing right now,” Niederreiter said.
“The game against Florida we weren’t really pleased – we were up in the game…and again tonight we played a pretty solid game tonight, but overall, I think there are some areas we’ve gotta improve.”
What Niederreiter was referring to was a 2-0 lead the Canes held after Trocheck scored at the 4:03 mark of the second.
Constantly swarmed by Carolina’s forecheck, the Blackhawks still managed to net two straight goals within three minutes before the period ended.
A highlight spin-o-rama and backhander from Kane and shot from Mitchell erased the Hurricanes lead.
The Hurricanes went 2-of-4 on the night on the power play and used momentum with the man advantage to take the lead on Necas’ second goal of the season.
Niederreiter scored his ninth of the season, another power play marker later in the period.
Slavin added his first goal of the season, an empty netter that extended the lead to three with 3:14 remaining.
The ‘full 60’ effort solidified the win for the Hurricanes, despite Soderberg’s second goal of the season with less than a minute to go that finalized the differential at two.
“He’s getting pucks to go in – last year he just couldn’t buy one,” head coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Niederreiter.
“When that doesn’t happen, it kind of snowballs, and you kind of fight it. Versus the opposite now, when it is going in, it snowballs the other way and you feel like you just can’t miss. That’s kind of what’s happened here. I don’t know if he’s playing any differently or anything, I just feel like the confidence is definitely flowing in him right now.”
Niederreiter and the Canes (11-3-1) look to keep carrying their momentum forward when they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning (10-3-1) on Saturday at PNC arena – the first of four straight games with the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The two teams last met in the Hurricanes’s season opener in Raleigh back on Jan. 28.
Carolina earned a 1-0 overtime win in that one as Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Staal each tallied an assist on Necas’ first career OT goal while Petr Mrazek recorded a 32-save shutout.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport