CHICAGO (AP) — Sebastian Aho snapped a tie with a power-play goal in the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Thursday night in their first game since Ron Francis was forced out as general manager.
Justin Williams had a goal and an assist as Carolina stayed four points back of Columbus for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Scott Darling made 22 saves in his return to Chicago after he was traded to Carolina in April, and Elias Lindholm added two assists.
The Hurricanes (30-27-11) had dropped eight of 10, and new owner Tom Dundon announced a front-office shake-up on Wednesday night. Francis was moved from GM to a new role as the team’s president of hockey operations, and Dundon said the team will begin a search for a new GM who will report directly to the owner.
Tomas Jurco and Patrick Sharp scored for last-place Chicago (29-31-8), which had won two of three. Jean-Francois Berube made 37 stops.
With Sharp in the box for interference, Aho tipped Teuvo Teravainen’s shot by Berube 4:35 into the final period. It was Aho’s team-high 24th goal of the season.
Carolina controlled most of the first two periods, outshooting Chicago 28-14, but the Blackhawks stayed in the game behind a pair of nice plays.
Jurco redirected Brent Seabrook’s slap shot by Darling for a 1-0 lead at 6:02 of the first. After Slavin beat Berube with a slap shot through traffic, Sharp made it 2-1 when he backhanded a rebound into an open net at 15:06 before being pushed to the ice by Carolina forward Jordan Staal.
Williams was sent off for hooking with 62 seconds left in the first, but he stepped out of the box early in the second, got a long stretch pass from Elias Lindholm and beat Berube high on the glove side on a breakaway at 1:06. It was Williams’ fourth goal in five games and No. 14 on the season.
Carolina then had a chance to go in front, but Berube made a solid glove save on Brett Pesce’s breakaway midway through the period.
NOTES: The 23-year-old Teravainen leads the Hurricanes with career highs of 34 assists and 53 points. He was traded by Chicago to Carolina in June 2016. … The Blackhawks announced another contract extension for one of their young defensemen, agreeing to a one-year deal with Jan Rutta that runs through next season. The 27-year-old Rutta has six goals and 13 assists in 44 games in his first NHL season. D Erik Gustafsson, who turns 26 on Wednesday, agreed to a two-year extension on Tuesday. … Chicago’s Joel Quenneville coached his 1,607th regular-season game, matching Al Arbour for second-most in NHL history.
Hurricanes: Visit the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Blackhawks: Visit Boston on Saturday afternoon.
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