Tracking the Storm: Analysis
- Despite playing their best period of hockey all season, the Carolina Hurricanes’ 60-minute game was not enough to overcome the Montreal Canadiens, as the Canes saw their season-long four-game winning streak snapped by a score of 4-2. Jordan Staal and Drayson Bowman netted goals for the Canes, who fired a season-high 44 shots on net. “I think our guys really pushed hard tonight,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “Give Montreal credit: they are a good team right now, and they don’t give you much. We just didn’t get it done in the third.”
- The middle frame was the best period of hockey the Canes have played all season. They were rolling four lines consistently, hitting with a purpose, finding the open areas of the ice and generating a constant stream of scoring chances. They out-shot the Canadiens 21-5, as they controlled play away from Justin Peters and had the ice completely tilted in their favor. “That second period was huge. We were on the attack, and we were aggressive,” Eric Staal said. “I thought we did a lot of that in the third period as well, but we just couldn’t get a bounce or a break. They capitalized, and that was the end of it.”
- Muller on the team’s second period: “It was a tough first period, but our guys responded with, I thought, our best period of the year in the second. We did everything that we possibly could,” he said. “With the group we had tonight, I think that was about the best we could play.”
- Scoreless heading into the third period in Montreal on Feb. 18, the Hurricanes ended up losing 3-0. The third period was the team’s undoing tonight, as Lars Eller netted what was ultimately the game-winning goal at the 6:09 mark. “It just kind of took the wind out of our sails,” Jordan Staal said. “It’s tough to come back against a team like that.”
- Eller’s goal came three-and-a-half minutes after the Hurricanes failed to score on an early-period power play. Carolina was 0-for-4 on the man advantage. “Our power play has got to be better,” Jordan Staal said. “Myself and everyone who is on it, we’ve got to find a way to get that killer instinct and push the team and our momentum.”
- Muller on the power play, which is 12-for-88 (13.6 percent) on the season: “You’ve got to get momentum from your power play. Whether you score on it or don’t, it’s got to continue the momentum of the team. For some reason, our guys play hard five-on-five and drop the pace on the power play.”
- Jeremy Welsh, recalled this morning for Charlotte and reinserted in the lineup in place of Riley Nash who is sidelined with an illness, recorded his first career point, the primary assist on Bowman’s goal.
- The Hurricanes get back at it on Saturday, as they wrap up their three-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils. The team still holds a four point lead in the Southeast Division, as they are 3-1 thus far in the month of March.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Brandon Prust and Lars Eller each had a goal and two assists to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
Eller's goal at 6:09 of the third gave Montreal the lead for good and P.K. Subban added a power-play goal at 7:56 to make it 4-2.
The Canadiens, playing their third game of a five-game road trip, were outshot 43-28 but Carey Price made 41 saves to earn his 12th win of the season.
Carolina goalkeeper Justin Peters, playing his second straight game since being called up from Charlotte of the AHL, made 24 saves on 28 shots.
The Hurricanes had their four-game winning streak ended.
Carolina dominated play in the second period with a 21-5 shot advantage, but the Hurricanes were unable to connect enough against Price, who had given up 12 goals in his previous two starts. Price also stopped Eric Staal's penalty shot with 5:08 left in the second period.
Prust opened the scoring at 3:22 of the first and defenseman Josh Georges notched his second goal of the season at 8:19 and Montreal went up 2-0 in the first period.
Using an 8-1 shot advantage to start the second period, the Hurricanes rallied as Jordan Staal got his sixth goal of the season with a shot from the right circle at 6:07 to make it 2-1.
Drayson Bowman tied it at 2-2 when he scored his second goal of the season at 10:27 of the second.
NOTES: Carolina recalled F Jeremy Welsh from Charlotte and placed Tim Brent on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 28. Welsh earned his first NHL point with an assist. ... Montreal coach Michel Therrien was back behind the bench after missing Thursday morning's pregame skate with an illness. ... Montreal D Francis Bouillon played his 700th career game.