Tracking the Storm: Analysis
- Two nights after topping the Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey Devils 4-2 in the final game of a 12-day road trip, the Carolina Hurricanes returned home to stop the streaking Toronto Maple Leafs dead in their tracks, winning 3-1. It was one of the most commanding games the team has played all season, virtually dominating the pace in the latter half of the first period onward. The Leafs, winners of four straight and six of seven on the road, looked lifeless, and the Canes, playing their third game in four nights, looked relentless. “Coaching staff did a great job in the morning and in the pre-game meetings to make sure we were ready,” Joe Corvo said.
- Corvo, who was wearing the “A” in Tim Gleason’s absence, scored the game’s first goal at the 6:06 mark of the second period. It was a sequence that, in essence, started and ended with the 35-year-old defenseman, who has five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games since being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games. Corvo pinched to chip the puck deep. The puck ended up loose in the slot, and Corvo pounced on it to put it past Scrivens. “There’s a big difference between playing safe and playing confident, and obviously right now I’m playing pretty confident,” he said.
- Eric Staal recorded the primary assist on Corvo’s goal, the captain’s ninth assist of the season, which extended his point streak to 11 games. That is the longest such streak in the NHL this season and is a game shy of his own franchise-best record of 12-games set in February and March of 2012. In that 11-game stretch, Staal has posted eight goals and nine assists (17 points).
- Dan Ellis quietly put together a solid start in net. He only had to face 23 shots and just five in the final period, but he was equal to the task. The lone goal he surrendered bounced off Jamie McBain and Nazim Kadri’s leg pad before finding the back of the net. With the win, Ellis improves to 3-1 with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. With these numbers, the Canes are fully confident in throwing Ellis or Ward in the crease on any given night.
- With Gleason sidelined with a lower-body injury, 22-year-old Michal Jordan made his NHL debut in front of a sold-out crowd at PNC Arena. The Czech Republic-born defenseman was in Chicago this morning preparing for the Checkers’ game against the Wolves when he got the call. After a midday flight, he arrived in Raleigh a few hours before puck-drop. Though he was a “new” face in the lineup, he wasn’t unfamiliar – he’s played with Ellis, Justin Faulk, Bobby Sanguinetti, Drayson Bowman, Andreas Nodl and Tim Wallace at various points this season. Jordan and Sanguinetti seemed comfortable as a D-pair, and the group of six defenseman were a steady bunch for the entire 60 minutes. “Jordan played really well. That’s a big step – your first game up at this level coming from the minors,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “I thought our six were pretty solid back there.”
- Jordan logged 12:18 of ice time, all at even-strength, in his NHL debut. “When I was standing for national anthems, I was just looking around and trying to enjoy all the time I had today. It was great,” he said. “It was just fun to be a part of it.”
- Chad LaRose was a healthy scratch tonight, as Kevin Westgarth dressed on the fourth line and Wallace slid up to inject energy in the third line. “I know Toronto had a physical team. Westgarth has been working hard. I wanted to get him back in the lineup tonight,” Muller said. “Wallace has come up and played hard. The third line has been having a tough time, and I thought a different look there might help Juice and Bowman, and I thought Wallace did a good job there. We’re going to need everybody. Before you know it, he’ll be back in the lineup. He just has to keep working and be ready for the call.”
- The Canes now have a three-day lull before facing the Canadiens in Montreal on Monday. The break should give the wounded defense a chance to heal and the team a chance to catch their breath after four games in six nights. Their hard work has paid off, though, as the team sits atop the Southeast Division with 17 points.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Joe Corvo's confidence is growing for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Corvo opened the scoring and assisted on the go-ahead goal in Carolina's 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
The Hurricanes have won three straight and have gone 8-2-1 since starting the season 0-2.
Corvo was a healthy scratch for three consecutive games earlier this month, but since then the defenseman has responded with five points in four games.
"When you try to get involved, good things happen, you get chances," Corvo said. "There's a big difference between playing safe and playing confident. Obviously, right now I'm playing pretty confident."
Jussi Jokinen scored the go-ahead goal, and Jeff Skinner had two assists for Carolina, which played at home for the first time since Feb. 1.
Jordan Staal added a goal for the Hurricanes, and brother Eric Staal extended his point streak to an NHL-leading 11 games with an assist on Corvo's goal, the first of three for the Hurricanes in the second period.
Corvo kept the puck in the Toronto zone and then took advantage of several misplays by the Toronto defense. Eric Staal was knocked off the puck as he attempted to pass from behind the net, but the puck drifted into the slot for Corvo, who scored to Ben Scrivens' right side at 6:06 of the second period.
"I'm not a big defenseman that's physical. I have to bring something to the team," Corvo said. "If I don't bring some sort of offensive edge, then I'd be sitting on the bench, playing 12 to 14 minutes, and I'm not effective doing that."
After Toronto's Nazem Kadri got his fourth goal of the season to tie the score at 7:51 of the second, Jokinen gathered in a loose puck in front of a sprawling Scrivens at 12:58 of the second period. Corvo and Skinner set up the score with a rush on the power play, and Skinner also assisted on Jordan Staal's goal at 15:09 of the second.
Dan Ellis made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who stopped Toronto's four-game winning streak.
Ellis, Cam Ward's backup, has won three of his four starts this season.
Scrivens made 30 saves for Toronto, which fell to 6-2 on the road.
"They've got some good hockey players up front," Kadri said of the Hurricanes. "We figured we'd get the puck in deep and kind of try and use their D-men as their weak point, but they did an excellent job today, and we just weren't good enough."
Carolina's Bobby Sanguinetti was whistled for a penalty 22 seconds after Corvo's goal, and Toronto took advantage. Dion Phaneuf's shot bounced off Carolina's Jamie McBain and then off the shin of Kadri for his fourth goal of the season.
Carolina outshot Toronto 33-23, including 13-10 in the second period and 12-5 in the third.
NOTES: The teams met for the second of three games in the lockout-shortened season. Carolina won the first meeting 4-1 in Toronto on Feb. 4, part of a 4-1-1 road trip. ... Defenseman Michal Jordan made his NHL debut for Carolina after getting called up from Charlotte of the AHL. ... The Hurricanes played without injured defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason, and forward Chad LaRose was a healthy scratch. ... Carolina's Skinner has a six-game point streak (two goals, seven assists). ... Toronto's Scrivens has been playing after James Reimer went out with a knee injury in the second period of the Leafs' win over Philadelphia on Monday. ... Kadri leads Toronto in points (12).