Hamilton, Flames beat Hurricanes 4-1 for 7th win in row

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Calgary Flames are going so well, they are rolling to easy victories even without their top scorer.

Dougie Hamilton scored twice, Mike Smith made 38 saves and the Flames ran their winning streak to seven straight games with a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

Sean Monahan leads the Flames with 21 goals, but was out because of the flu. Calgary still controlled the entire game.

Matt Stajan opened the scoring at 6:01 of the first period with his first goal of the season.

Hamilton made it 2-0 later in the first period. He scored again early in the third for his first multigoal game of the season and Matthew Tkachuk added an insurance goal late. Johnny Gaudreau had two assists to extend his point streak to seven games in a row.

“We’re feeling good right now, obviously,” Hamilton said. “We’re doing the little things consistent and we haven’t really had a terrible stretch of hockey yet.”

Scott Darling made 26 saves for Carolina, which has lost four of five. Lee Stempniak scored with 4:31 remaining to avoid a shutout.

“I didn’t think we were engaged in the game, period,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “I didn’t think we skated, I didn’t think we had much emotional engagement to the game. I thought we looked lethargic. We were slow.”

The Flames, indeed, were faster and more physical from the start.

Barely six minutes in, Curtis Lazar took the puck from his own blue line all the way to the front of the Carolina net, beating two defenders, but lost the puck before could get a shot off. The loose puck ended up right on Stajan’s stick, and he fired a wrister past Darling for his first goal in 37 games dating to last season.

The Flames doubled their lead with 1:13 left in the first period. A huge hit by Micheal Ferland at centre ice forced a Hurricanes turnover and resulted in a 3-on-2 Calgary rush, and Hamilton snapped home a one-timer to make it 2-0.

“I thought we had jump early and we made some plays,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I liked our game.”

Flames captain Mark Giordano received a match penalty early in the third period for an illegal check to the head and was ejected. He threw his shoulder into the face of Sebastian Aho, who was preparing to shoot. Aho remained down on the ice for several minutes, had to be helped off and didn’t return.

Peters said he didn’t have an update on Aho’s status after the game.

“Obviously there was some head contact. I don’t know if there was much intent,” Peters said. “I thought (Giordano’s) arm was tucked in low but he ended up catching the head and that’s unfortunate.”

Calgary put the game away shortly after the hit.

Jamie McGinn found an opening on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break for Carolina and fired a wrist shot that hit the post and flicked along the goal line, but not over it.

With the Hurricanes thinking they had scored and looking toward the officials, the Flames collected the puck and rushed down the ice for a 3-on-2 break, which Hamilton finished on a one-timer for the second time.

“That’s a two-goal swing right there,” Stajan said. “It’s either 2-1 game or what happened, we took full control of the game. We had some adversity there. We lost our captain.that was a big swing.”

NOTES: Monahan is expected to return in time for Calgary’s next game. . The Hurricanes have been outscored 21-12 during their current 1-4 stretch. . F Ryan Lomberg and D Matt Bartkowski were scratched for the Flames. . Carolina C Derek Ryan (upper body injury) missed his second straight game. . F Josh Jooris and F Phillip Di Giuseppe were scratched for the Hurricanes.

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