Rask, Hanifin help Hurricanes win 4th straight, beat Jets
Carolina’s kids have the Hurricanes rolling, and now they get to take the show on the road.
Victor Rask got his eighth goal of the season and Noah Hanifin scored his first, helping the Hurricanes beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.
The 23-year-old Rask was the oldest of Carolina’s goal scorers in this one, backed by the 19-year-old Hanifin and 21-year-old Elias Lindholm.
All but one of the Hurricanes’ 12 goals during this winning streak have been scored by players 24 or younger. The stretch has helped Carolina find its footing after a 3-6-4 start to the season.
“It’s a great bunch of guys,” said goalie Cam Ward, who is the fourth-oldest player for Carolina at 32. “It’s a fun group. It’s an exciting group. There is a lot of potential in this locker room. It’s great to see us putting it together. Guys want to score goals.”
Carolina finished this homestand 4-1-0 and now starts a three-game swing through Canada.
Lindholm also got his first goal this season in the first period, and the Hurricanes kept up the pressure from there, challenging goalie Connor Hellebuyck with 40 shots.
“We got the first one early,” Lindholm said. “Hopefully for me, it will build some more confidence. I turned down some opportunities in the last two games and didn’t believe in myself and my shot. Hopefully now I can get some more and take some more.”
Carolina’s young legs took advantage of the Jets in the third period after Winnipeg played the night before, a 4-1 loss in Boston. It was the third game — all losses — of a five-game trip.
“It’s going to be big to get a couple of days between games,” captain Blake Wheeler said. “It’s been a pretty big grind, one like I’ve never experienced before. We’re a tired hockey team, there’s no question about that. But we’ve got a group that can fight through it. We just need to get our rest.”
Winnipeg’s next game is on Wednesday.
Rask made it 2-0 on a power play early in the third, and after Mark Scheifele got his 11th goal for the Jets, Hanifin put it away with a power-play score with 1:43 left.
Lindholm got on the board 6:45 in. He swept in from the left side along the goal line and ripped a shot past Hellebuyck on the short side. The goalie was screened by defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and couldn’t find the puck.
Rask stretched the lead by taking slick pass from Lee Stempniak in close and lifting it past Hellebuyck.
Scheifele took over the NHL points lead (23) when he narrowed the deficit to 2-1. The 23-year-old one-timed a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers after Ehlers chased down a loose puck in the corner.
Hanifin restored the two-goal lead with a hammered one-timer from the right point.
The teams also played to open the season, when Winnipeg rallied from two goals down to win 4-3 in overtime.
Ward stalled the effort for a similar rally Sunday with 28 saves. He helped kill off a hooking penalty on Viktor Stalberg with about six minutes left by stopping three shots.
Carolina was perfect on the penalty kill for the ninth straight game. It killed three penalties Sunday and leads the NHL with a 91.3 percent success rate, including 19 straight. The Hurricanes have allowed only four power-play goals, killing off 42 of 46 tries.
NOTES: Carolina D Ron Hainsey picked up an assist in his second straight game. ... Scheifele has a point in 14 of Winnipeg’s 21 games. ... Rask recorded his second straight game-winning goal.
Jets: Continue trip at Minnesota on Wednesday night.
Hurricanes: Play at Toronto on Tuesday night.