Tracking the Storm: Analysis
The Carolina Hurricanes capped off their most successful month of the season with a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators. The win was the Canes’ sixth this month, as they finish February with a 6-1-4 record, earning points in 10 of 11 games. Cam Ward
made 26 saves in his return to the crease, and Bryan Allen
netted the game-winning goal. “They gave it us pretty good in Nashville last time, and it was a good lesson for us,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “We knew if we didn’t play hard tonight, compete and go after them that we wouldn’t be able to stay with them in this game.”
Allen scored his first goal in 94 games and first as a Hurricane in the third period, what turned out to be the game-winner. He came out of the box after serving a slashing penalty and was off to the races on a breakaway. He slid the puck through Anders Lindback’s pads and nearly fell while celebrating. Being rumored in trades just a day prior, you couldn’t write this script any better. “Burst that bubble here, and you never know what’s going to happen in the last 20 games,” Allen joked about his goal-scoring prowess. And his breakway move? “I can’t let them all out,” he said with a toothless grin. “I guess that’s one of a couple.”
About that celebration – we can easily excuse it because, as a defensive defenseman, Allen doesn’t get the chance to pot one that often, especially on a breakaway. Muller jokingly called Allen “rusty” in the celebration department. Allen was asked about it after the game. “I thought I was going to get away with not talking about that, but obviously not,” he said. “I hadn’t scored all year, and for me to score on a breakaway was kind of neat. I was just trying to celebrate.”
extended his point streak to nine games (7g, 9a) with a 3-point (1g, 2a) night. He talked earlier in the season about scoring the “ugly” goals. He got one tonight, as Jeff Skinner
powered to the net, sending the puck up and over Lindback and onto Staal’s stick in the crease for the easy tap-in. “We were around [the net] and buzzing, and sometimes you’ve got to get them ugly,” he said.
Ward got the win in net in his first game back in just over a week. Facing just 13 shots in the first and second periods combined, Ward admitted he felt “a bit shaky.” “Come the third period, I felt like my old self again,” he said. “I was seeing the puck well and reading and reacting.” Muller said he knew this game would be an adjustment for Ward, and it would be a stiff test against one of the top teams in the League. “I thought he battled through it, and at the end of the day, he got the win,” Muller said. “That’s what counts.”
saw 14:50 of ice time in his first game under Muller, just shy of his season-high of 15 minutes. Boychuk skated on the second line and logged 2:45 on the power play. Muller took note of Boychuk’s skating ability. “I was pleased with him,” he said. “He was skating and moving. He was involved, and he had a couple of scoring chances.”
Though February is coming to a close for the Hurricanes, their homestand continues on Thursday and Saturday as the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning come to town. With six of a possible eight points in their pockets already, the Canes will look to end their longest home stretch of the season on a high note. “We’re going to continue to compete here,” Staal said. “We’re building an identity, and we’re liking the group that we have and the type of game that we’re playing.”
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Bryan Allen scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box, and the Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Nashville's Gabriel Bourque scored less than a minute later - at 2:16 of the third period - to cut Carolina's lead to 4-3 but the Predators couldn't tie it.
Eric Staal and Tim Brent scored power-plays goals in the second period, and Jamie McBain had Carolina's first goal earlier in the frame.
Craig Smith and Colin Wilson also scored for Nashville, which had its two-game winning streak snapped. The Predators, who won't play again until Saturday at Florida, lost in regulation for just the sixth time in regulation since Dec. 28.
Carolina outshot the Predators 33-29, keeping Nashville goalie Anders Lindback busy. Hurricanes counterpart Cam Ward returned to the lineup after missing three games because of injury. Ward made 26 saves to earn his first win against the Predators.
The Hurricanes broke a six-game losing streak to Nashville, including a 5-2 road defeat on Jan. 7 in which they gave up four power-play goals.
Carolina went 2 for 5 on the power play in this matchup, ending an eight-game stretch in which the Predators didn't allow a man-advantage goal.
NOTES: Staal had a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to nine games. ... Carolina broke a string of back-to-back shootout losses. ... Eight of Smith's 12 goals have been scored on the road. ... Bourque has points in three straight games, one goal and three assists.