Necas, Aho help Hurricanes hold on to beat Blackhawks 6-3

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Martin Necas and Sebastian Aho each had a goal and an assist, and the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 on Monday night.

Michael Bunting, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brent Burns and Jordan Martinook also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won three straight and eight of 10. Spencer Martin, claimed off waivers in January, had 14 saves to win his third straight start.

“I still feel like I have a lot to prove,” said Martin, who was waived by Columbus on Jan. 19. “It has been a special opportunity to play with a team like this. They’re obviously really talented guys but also the way that they’ve brought me into the locker room is building my confidence as well.”

Connor Bedard had a goal and two assists, and Nick Foligno and Tyler Johnson also scored for the Blackhawks, who lost their 21st straight on the road (0-20-1). Chicago hasn’t won away from home since beating Tampa Bay on Nov. 9. Petr Mrazek stopped 36 shots against his former team.

The Hurricanes built a 4-0 lead midway through the second period. Martin wasn’t tested often in the first period, facing just five shots, but the Blackhawks had 5-on-3 power play for 1 minute and 41 seconds.

“At real key points in the game, he had some big saves,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Martin. “He has been great. He is a heck of an addition.”

Necas set up Bunting’s goal at 11:45 of the first to open the scoring.

Necas made it 2-0 at 1:59 in the second period after Foligno’s clearing attempt failed and ended up on Necas’ stick in the slot. Necas beat two defenders for his 17th goal of the season.

Dmitry Orlov’s cross-ice pass set up Kotkaniemi’s first goal since Dec. 19, a span of 22 games, and made it 3-0 at 8:22.

Aho’s wrap-around goal 2 1/2 minutes later extended the Hurricanes lead to 4-0.

Bedard then flashed the skill that made him the top pick in last year’s NHL draft to try to pull the last-place Blackhawks back into the game.

Foligno scored on a spinning backhand off an assist from Bedard to make it 4-1 with 4:37 remaining in the second.

Carolina converted on the power play at 2:34 of the third period with an odd-angled shot from Burns. Mrazek blocked away a shot from Aho at the point to the near side boards, but Burns quickly fired the loose puck behind Mrazek to restore the four-goal lead.

Bedard, in his third game back since a broken jaw sidelined him for more than a month, made it 5-2 on a power-play goal from the right circle at 7:00.

Bedard then set up Johnson for a one-timer right in front to cut Carolina’s lead to 5-3 at 9:08.

“The second half, I liked our push,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “Connor’s line did really well, got us some. It was some momentum and that guys some power plays and the power play did well in the third period for us.”=

The Chicago rookie star has two goals and four assists in the three games since returning from injury.

“He’s quick, very quick, and skilled,” Aho said of Bedard. “We already knew he has an elite release. I’m sure he’s going to be a very good player for a long time in this league.”

Martinook added an empty-net goal with 1:49 left to seal the win for the Hurricanes.

UP NEXT

Blackhawks: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Hurricanes: Host Florida on Thursday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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