RALEIGH, N.C. – Aaron Ward was awarded the tying goal after a video review early in the second period and Matt Cullen put Carolina ahead about a minute later, helping the Hurricanes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 Tuesday night.

Cullen scored again in the third period and Craig Adams also had two goals for the Hurricanes, who were playing at home for the first time since Nov. 27. They went 3-2-1 on their longest trip of the season to hold onto the top spot in the Southeast Division and returned for five straight at the RBC Center – their longest homestand.

The Blackhawks hadn’t lost in regulation in seven games, including a run of four in a row decided in overtime, and had a two-game winning streak snapped. Jaroslav Spacek and Tyler Arnason gave Chicago a 2-0 in the opening 111/2 minutes.

Adams cut the deficit in half with his first goal before Ward tied it with a disputed one. Justin Williams skated in and had his shot blocked up in the air, but Ward knocked it in off goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with a swing of his stick. Originally, referee Dean Warren called a high-sticking violation and wiped away the score.

The replay officials reversed it after a brief delay, giving Ward his second goal of the season to make it 2-2. Cullen needed only 64 seconds to add another, patiently holding the puck behind the net before a centering pass bounced into the net off the skate of Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith.

The Hurricanes kept applying the pressure and finished with a 36-20 advantage in shots to win at the RBC Center for the second time in five games. The three losses came during their only stretch of bad play this season, but they continued the best start in franchise history, with 40 points in 30 games.

Andy Hilbert brought the Blackhawks within 5-3 with his first goal of the season. He was called up from Norfolk of the American Hockey League earlier this month.

Notes: Before the game, the Hurricanes reassigned F Mike Zigomanis to Lowell of the AHL. He had one goal in 19 games this season but holds Lowell career records for games (254), goals (77), assists (114) and points (191). … Chicago remained the only team in the NHL without a short-handed goal. … Carolina LW Erik Cole limped to the locker room with an injury early in the third period, but later returned.

AP-ES-12-13-05 2126EST

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