Canes eliminate Blackhawks from postseason contention

In Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes posted a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night to eliminate the Hawks, officially, from postseason contention.

Sebastian Aho potted a hat trick for the Canes.

“It would be easy to just let off the gas,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I give the guys credit because these last three games, it hasn’t been picture-perfect, but they certainly haven’t come off the gas at all. That’s on those guys. They’re doing a great job.”

Alex Nedeljkovic made 15 saves in the win, he is now 7-0-1.

The Canes held a 4-0 lead before the Blackhawks got on the board.

Ian Mitchell broke through for Chicago in the middle frame, and Alex DeBrincat added a strike in the third period.

“Obviously not the spot we want to be in with four games left,” DeBrincat said. “We had a good stretch in the middle of the season but you have to play the full season. It’s tough, but these next four games, we’re still building for something in the future. We’ve still got to play hard.”

Dougie Hamilton and Martin Necas  also scored for Carolina.

Malcolm Subban got the start for Chicago, but was given the hook after surrendering four goals and making 14 saves midway through the game.

“We have to get better, we have to keep improving,” Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We have a bunch of first- and second-year guys, even third- or fourth-year guys; we’re trying to learn as a group how to play to have success and be at the top and compete against teams like Carolina. We have to use these games as an opportunity to get better.”

Collin Delia made 19 saves in a mop up role.

“It’s been challenging, but you’ve got to be thankful for the opportunity to even be in this situation to begin with,” Delia said. “I’m very thankful to be a part of the organization and I’m thankful to compete and work with some amazing individuals every day.”