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All It Took Was One

Wednesday, 01.1.2014 / 2:45 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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All It Took Was One
All it took was one.

Michael Smith
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And from there, the Carolina Hurricanes just kept rolling.

After coming into the third period down 3-0 to Montreal, the Canes scored four third-period goals to force overtime and ultimately win the game, 5-4.

“The first goal was the one that was so huge,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “It didn’t matter what kind of goal it was going to be. It just showed that we weren’t going to go through the motions in the third period.”

The goal was scored on the power play after the team had seen seven other chances drift by, including an extended five-on-three advantage in the second period. Jeff Skinner was the goal scorer, his first of two power-play tallies in the game.

Andrej Sekera sent a point shot toward the net. Carey Price spit out the rebound, and Skinner corralled it. He attempted a wrap-around, but was denied by a sliding Brandon Prust. Skinner then regathered the puck, spun around in the slot and roofed one off the cross-bar and in.

“The power play got us going, not only the goal but the momentum,” Manny Malhotra said. “We had to stay to the game plan. We’ve proved that plan has worked for us.”

Thirty-seven seconds later, Skinner netted another power-play goal, his 12th goal in the month of December alone and 16th of the season.

Then it was Eric Staal in the right place at the right time to bang home a loose puck.

Then it was Zach Boychuk threading the needle with a tape-to-tape pass to Malhotra in the slot, and he finished.

All it took was one, and from there, the Hurricanes just kept rolling.

“Everything fell into place, we got some breaks and we got some goals at the right time,” Muller said. “We just went for it in the third.”

“I think that separates a lot of teams – that ability to stay the course,” Malhotra said. “There was a decision to be made. It was either jettison the whole thing and see what happens playing an individual game or believe in each other, believe that guys are going to do their job and it will pay off. We stuck with that mentality.”

The Canes then fought through Montreal tying the game 4-4 to win just their third game in overtime this season. It came off the stick of Alexander Semin who, before Dec. 23, hadn’t scored in 14 games since Oct. 24. It was a quick turnaround wrist shot that found a hole in Carey Price, who appeared impenetrable through the first 40 minutes.

“A lot of the game is mental toughness,” Skinner said. “We had been getting some chances, but we couldn’t seem to get a goal. We still had 20 minutes to play, and we have enough veteran guys in the locker room to know we had to stick with the plan.”

When the puck crossed the goal line, the crowd erupted and the goal horn blared, Semin raised his arms and looked upward, a display of simultaneous relief and exultation.

“I think that was just such an emotional game last night,” Muller said. “You could just see it in their body language afterward.”

As much was clear in the locker room after the game: this is the kind of comeback, the kind of team-effort victory that can change the tide of a season.

Of course, whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen, but it starts with the team’s upcoming two-game road trip that will take them through Washington and Long Island.

“Last night’s win doesn’t mean anything if we don’t follow it up,” Skinner said. “You can’t dwell on it, just like we wouldn’t dwell on it if it had gone the other way and we lost. We’d bounce back and try to win the next game. That’s the mindset going into tomorrow.”

“They woke up today and came back to practice with a lot of energy,” Muller said. “That’s where we talk about momentum and how it carried already into today’s practice where you see the life and energy, and now we just have to take it on the road trip.”

Ward and Nash Injured, Khudobin Back in the Picture

The Canes announced on Wednesday that Cam Ward has a lower-body injury and will not make the two-game road trip. Anton Khudobin and Justin Peters will serve as the team’s two goaltenders, with Khudobin likely getting in at least one of the next two games. Muller would not commit to a starter for Thursday’s tilt in Washington.

Forward Riley Nash left Tuesday night’s game with a lower-body injury. He did not practice on Wednesday and will likely be on the shelf for a week. It’s expected that the Hurricanes will make a corresponding roster move to fill his absence.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
8 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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