RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Morgan Geekie scored his first two goals of the season and the Carolina Hurricanes used a rapid-fire scoring spree in the first period to defeat the Nashville Predators 5-1 on Thursday night.
Geekie posted the game’s first and fourth goals. His opening tally began a span of three goals by the Hurricanes in less than 2½ minutes.
Geekie was in the lineup for the first time in exactly a month.
“I was just going out there every day trying to get back in the lineup and do what I can,” he said.
Brock McGinn, Dougie Hamilton and Martin Necas also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won seven games in a row. Jake Bean and Andrei Svechnikov each had two assists.
Eleven Carolina players scored at least one goal during the team’s perfect four-game homestand. McGinn and Hamilton had their first goals during that stretch, but Geekie gained most of the attention in the latest result.
“You don’t expect that type of performance,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We needed it. We’re going to need it moving forward.”
James Reimer made 15 of his 32 saves in the first period. He was denied his first shutout of the season when Nick Cousins scored with 4:32 left.
Pekka Rinne, who has played in six straight contests for Nashville, stopped 18 shots before exiting after the game’s fifth goal.
Geekie’s first goal came by redirecting Bean’s delivery on a power play. McGinn and Hamilton had goals 16 seconds apart, with the Hurricanes scoring on half of their six first-period shots.
“Even when we’re not having great periods, we’re finding ways to win,” Bean said.
Bean’s second assist came on Geekie’s other goal. They’re former roommates in the minor leagues.
“Kudos for him finding a lane on the first one and finding me on the second one, too,” Geekie said.
The Predators couldn’t recover from the first-period mistakes.
“It was a couple of bad minutes,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “I thought prior to the penalty we had carried the play.”
The Hurricanes franchise produced a 4-0-0 homestand for only the second time in 36 years.
Geekie registered a point in a home game for the first time. His four points last season came in road outings.
Geekie, a 22-year-old center, was in his 10th game of the season for Carolina.
“Hopefully it shows we’ve got a lot of good players and some depth,” Brind’Amour said. “Everybody has to step up a little bit and Morgan did tonight for us.”
Geekie was on the ice because of an injury to center Vincent Trocheck. Brind’Amour said earlier Thursday that Trocheck, who leads the team with 13 goals, wouldn’t play.
PREDATORS IN PREDICAMENT
The Predators made more lineup changes with defenseman Dante Fabbro serving a two-game suspension. He was forced to sit out by the NHL after an elbow to the head of McGinn in Tuesday night’s game.
Fabbro had been one of four Nashville players to appear in every game this season.
Defenseman Ben Harpur was added back to the lineup, appearing in his eighth game of the season. Defenseman Alexandre Carrier stayed on the blue line for his fourth game of the season and eighth of his career.
The shortage was compounded when defenseman Mark Borowiecki exited with a first-period injury after logging less than 6 ½ minutes.
“If you look at the defensemen, I think there was an adjustment,” Hynes said of the youth at the position. “It is an adjustment when young guys come into the lineup.”
ABOUT THAT NUMBER
Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin and center Cedric Paquette both appeared in their 400th career NHL games Thursday.
For Slavin, they’ve all come with the Hurricanes. Paquette joined the organization earlier this season in a trade from Ottawa.
Predators: Head to Tampa Bay to play Saturday and Sunday in the fourth and fifth games of an eight-game road trip.
Hurricanes: Go to Detroit for games Sunday and Tuesday.